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Poppermost

Bitter Suite Swan Songs

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Jeremy Adams

Poppermost certainly isn’t short on delusions of grandeur. The band calls its music “one gigantic mass [encompassing] pop, rock, country, soul and classical” in the liner notes of its third LP, Bitter Suite Swan Songs. But the group’s ambition often exceeds its stylistic capabilities. “Bitter Suite,” the album’s two-part title track, briefly achieves anthemic bliss before collapsing under the weight of heavy-handed lyrics (“I lock my feelings in a jar until they go away”) and tinny Weird Al-esque keyboards. “I Will Begin” starts derivatively—with an a cappella intro à la Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”—and continues with a set of both clichéd power chords and unoriginal lyrics (“Everybody wants to win/Instead we’re all set up to lose”). Ugh.

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When Poppermost stays within its reach, however, the results are more pleasant. “Concentrate” achieves a breezy, summer-barbecue vibe reminiscent of the Foo Fighters’ “Big Me,” while “Kristen”—a short ditty about a town’s resident gossip—exudes genuine energy. My advice? Start from a seed, boys, and the ambition will grow out later.

The bottom line: **1/2

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Previous Discussion:

  • “This record has very little insecurity. It was a blast to make, and it’s really fun to play live.”

  • Anyone who discovered COC at the band’s popular height should be satisfied with this effective return to the familiar.

  • Bassist Nate Brenner partners with leader Merrill Garbus for an approachable and dancey record.

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