Album review: Poppy – Flux

Poppy triumphs on her deepest and most artistic album to date, Flux.

Album review: Poppy – Flux
James Hickie

To say Poppy’s life has been in a state of flux in recent years is an understatement as sizeable as her popularly. Her career trajectory to date has been fascinatingly erratic, from robotic internet star to flesh-and-blood GRAMMY nominee, achieved while freeing herself from the controlling influences in her life. But what of the music itself? Does it justify the mania? You could argue, of course, that few albums could manage such a feat – and you’d be right. But one could also suggest Flux does something more important: it captures a 26-year-old reclaiming her career and stamping her status as a bona fide artist – all via a set of excellent songs.

It’s a cohesive, largely understated collection, too. If there’s one think Poppy doesn’t need, it’s additional attention, so gone are the big, brash genre-hopping blasts from previous album I Disagree, with its shock detours from sour to sweet and back again. Instead, Flux is a more singular, streamlined experience. It’s no less angry, confused, contemplative as its predecessor, it’s just more refined in the way it communicates those emotions. Recorded in the room with her band, the raucous Lessen The Damage and spritely So Mean buzz with a rocking-in-the-garage intimacy that recalls Jack Off Jill, a band Poppy has gone on record to declare a central part of her formative listening (and even covered this year).

There’s other evidence of a diverse musical education, too. The warping guitars and dreamy drones of Hysteria and As Strange As It Seems confirm a predilection for My Bloody Valentine, resulting in tunes that slowly intoxicate the listener rather than bombarding them into submission or ensnaring them with saccharine as in the past. The most lovely of all is closing track Never Find My Place, which confirms this iteration of Poppy’s sound is part of the journey rather than a permanent destination. After an album this exciting and interesting, it’ll be fascinating to see where she goes next. Don’t wish your life away, though, take the time to admire the music we have right here and right now.

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: Ghostemane, Halsey, Trent Reznor

Flux is out now via Sumerian Records

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