Swing rock, modern blues, or ultra hip contemporary; whatever you want to call it, Poppy & The Usual Suspects is good music. Singing the modern day blues of hating work, wanting to be with a girl, getting dumped, and the desire to party all night, Poppy & The Usual Suspects have found a way to spice up the blues with some great guitar riffs, enjoyable percussion, and old fashioned crying over the pain lyrics.
Celestial Love Jones is an album that is hard to categorize. It’s filled with a blues rhythm but fueled by a drummer that would be perfect in the latest heavy metal rock band. Poppy & The Usual Suspects definitely rock hard, and that is made clear by the time the first guitar solo arrives on the opening track Can’t Find That Thing. Lead guitarist Julio Franco does a wonderful job executing an amazing solo that demands attention. It’s been a while since I’ve heard a deep guitar solo like this, and the fact that it is being played on a rockabilly blues album makes it all the more astonishing.
Poppy & The Usual Suspects are a different band and Celestial Love Jones is certainly a different album. Breaking away from the everyday repetitive crap that is churned out on modern radio, Celestial Love Jones is so unique, that at first listen, it’s hard to say if it’s lovable or not. There is so much going on in the music, that an immediate opinion is hard to form because there is too much to absorb.
The title track consists of heavy harmonica (played by Poppy himself) that competes with the guitar solo on the previous song for most amazing sound on the disc. This is one harmonica solo that was well thought out and deep. It is a true centerpiece for the song. The rest of the tune is basic 4/4 bar blues, but the wail of the harp pulls it all together and makes it a stand out song.
Poppy has a deep voice and works to his strengths. Rather than going for the high notes that he might not be able to pull off, Poppy stays within his range of low tenor and lets the guitars and harmonica take center stage. He is more of a backdrop to the wonderful world of music that is surrounding him.
The incredible guitar riffs and harp work continue throughout the album. If you’re a fan of guitar solos or excellent harmonica playing, this is the album for you. Mr. Boss Man is an exceptional chant to hating your job and telling your boss to stick it where the sun doesn’t shine. An ode to those slaving on the job everywhere, this is Poppy & The Usual Suspect’s opus for the working man. Even if you love your job, you will be singing along with this catchy riff.
Obsession opens with an ominous feeling of darkness and the lyrics solidify that this is a dark song of wanting something all the time, so much that it overtakes all other thoughts of the day. In this case, the obsession is a girl. Musically, this is the simplest song on the record, but it is so catchy that it’s worth nothing what a great song this is. An easy sing-along, Obsession will have you rocking out in no time.
Simply stated, Celestial Love Jones rocks hard. If you’re on the search for a different type of rock that is going to be new yet deeply satisfying, look no further. Poppy & The Usual Suspects are exactly what you want. Filled with exceptional guitar work, wonderful harmonica riffs, and a steady rhythm section that never misses a beat, Celestial Love Jones is an excellent disc.
Check out Poppy and the Usual Suspects at myspace!
Rating: Out of 10
- Can’t Find That Thing
- Celestial Love Jones
- Baby’s Comin’ Home
- Mr. Boss Man
- Be My Girl
- Lie After Lie
- Comfortable Shoes
- Money Shot
- Dealer’s Choice
Poppy & The Usual Suspects Are:
Poppy – vocals, harmonica
Julio Franco – guitar
Brian Palmerino – guitar keyboards
Robert Togliatti – bass, vocals
Jason Fay – drums, percussion, vocals