Sound — 5
Got plans for tonight? Some marihuana in the pocket? Well, than that's the record you're gonna need -- OPM's latest product -- California Poppy. One warning -- don't push play button before you make sure you got stoned! Read on and I'll tell you why. California Poppy is OPM's third full-length release and the second for Suburban Noize Records. You already got an idea what poppy stand for and California in the title is defining the band's roots. As they say -- California and the poppy... the root of OPM. Taking inspiration from local bands like Sublime, The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Jane's Addiction, OPM create their music style from ska, reggae and pop-rock. This time producers John e. and Geoff wanted to make it in more traditional style than the previous two albums -- no programmed beats evolving into the songs. Instead there are a lot of intros and outros -- this way they try diverse alike songs. Just like the album opens with something that seems interesting (half-a-minute intro), some songs start promising with something different -- like horns or some pop tune, but in a couple seconds you get disappointed -- it is only a prelude to the same indifferent ska thing. As there are six members in the band and everybody's doing something, the music is stuffed with different instruments' parts. Some of them were quite frankly noticed somewhere else before. Probably due to the guys' addiction to programming, drums sound like they were made on computer (esp. when it comes to hi-hats). Among the other songs Voodoo Hex sounds amazingly good -- it's a pretty solid track with a catchy melody, rock guitars, funky piano and horns. Desire has a haunting piano line and electronic flourishes that create a mystery atmosphere. It doesn't get on well with lyrics though. Others tracks can make you a nice lullaby as there's not too much entertainment in music to keep you away from being bored.
Lyrics — 5
The songs carry an easy, fiesta, never-mind Californian attitude to live. OPM have all kinds of weird subjects (probably the result of their fantasies and a special approach in writing music) -- like falling in love with a strip dancer featuring all the details on how she shaves down there in Born Again Virgin. Kudos to the guys for being so frank with us! The track could make a background when you realize you want some intimacy with your girlfriend/boyfriend (on your get stoned party of course, otherwise it wouldn't work). It has horny lyrics (Just because she likes to shake her little butt/Doesn't mean she's a slut) and even those porn girls' sighs borrowed from a cheap commercial on TV. The vocals often sound like the person is not trying to sing, but whisper loud. Besides, the vocal part is always multilayered. John Edney's singing is husky, so you've got no doubt he's smoking regularly. Without the pictures in the CD booklet, I would think the vocalist is a very, very old guy from Jamaica. The album is stuffed with some ridiculous things that make you laugh. Like back vocals in Born Again Virgin that are so low they could well replace bass guitar line.
Overall Impression — 6
OPM wanted to make the album sound raw and live. I should say it appears to be quite raw, but not due to it's live atmosphere -- while the whole idea of sound is worth existing, it still needs to be worked on. It seems that the music and the lyrics is written separately, which leads to the unpleasant feeling that these two don't quite fit each other. It is gonna be hard to listen to the end of 13-track album without a pipe (just wondering, how self-confident you should be to record and actually release a record, counting on stoned people)? Not to be misunderstood in the best (and probably the only) way to listen to their album, OPM title the record in appropriate way and even fill the CD booklet with pictures of all kinds of drugs. They even show what a perfect drug dealer table should look like -- guns, drugs, pills, cigars, beer (wtf?), campaign, dollars. The pictures of six tattooed tough-looking guys in the CD booklet make you doubt noooo... these guys can't play that (maybe they're just trying to follow fashion?)