Identity is a recurrent theme throughout these 10 songs. ‘Sorry for what I’ve become,’ she spits amidst the airy ambience and nightmarish electronica of Anything Like Me, ‘because I’m becoming someone.’ Amongst this generation’s genre-splicing superstars, it is easy to draw comparison to the likes of Grimes and Billie Eilish, but there are strains of rock artists as disparate as No Doubt and even Trent Reznor at play here. And as The God Of Fuck himself has noted, there are shades of the arch subversion found in classic Marilyn Manson here, too. Yet it’s BABYMETAL who remain the closest comparison when finding a reference point for Poppy’s sound. ‘Chewy, chewy,’ she yelps with knowingly unhinged glee on Concrete. ‘Yummy, yummy, yummy!’
From there, the listener is sent toppling down a rabbit-hole of bewitching strangeness. BLOODMONEY seethes with heavy electro and hip-hop sensibility, similar to what we heard on last year’s Scary Mask collaboration with FEVER 333. Elsewhere, Fill The Crown sounds like Nine Inch Nails jamming with Swedish pop singer Robyn, Sit/Stay balances sublime melody and looming menace, and Bite Your Teeth veers between juddering metalcore and nursery-rhyme playfulness. It’s like Code Orange filtered through a fever dream. Even when the madness subsides and ultra-sugary pop bleeds through, as on the almost cloying Nothing I Need and Sick Of The Sun, it feels cracked, repurposed to skin-crawling effect. Repetition reveals many similarly inspired sleights of hand, and repeat listens are a must.
As we learned when we spoke to her last week, it’s hard to truly know Poppy. Where does the creation end and its creator begin? Strain hard enough and can you find the line between artist and art? The answer, even after the most focussed plays of this album, remains tantalisingly unclear. But therein lies the thrill of straying into her Poppyverse. For every comparison you can make of individual moments, there is little here that you can honestly say you’ve heard before, and little that can be judged on traditional terms. But that’s what makes her such a fascinating force. Pop is dead – long live Poppy.