You may know Lehmann B. Smith from Totally Mild, or from one of his previous three albums. If not, you’re in for a wild yet soothing time on his latest album Poplar Music via Bedroom Suck.
If you spend ten seconds talking to Lehmann IRL, you’ll know this man doesn’t see the world very conventionally — rather, in a million moving ideas all flickering at once. Poplar Music in some ways maneuvers like his brain. The opening track ‘Blame Me‘ innocently sways in the sunny open road like an early Atlas Sound song. On the next track ‘Pave The Road‘ the rhythm glitters like album Strawberry Jam by Animal Collective, but with the forward momentum of Spiritualized and this is where the influences begin to move back in time.
The interlude ‘Harder‘ emulates the Parklife era of Blur, but with a the goofy tinge of Of Montreal. However it’s not all obvious influences, as Lehmann comes into his own midway through the album, taking on a Quentin Tarantino visual mindset with sliding guitars and the feel of pure freedom on ‘Do It Again‘. The Tarantino mythical jaggedness is in full effect on ‘Chromaticlash‘. There’s a sort of Disney soft waltz happening throughout ‘10th Dec‘ and it’s fascinating to follow. His unique combination of ideas from wild movies and more recent bands like Timber Timbre or Broken Social Scene on ‘Tropical‘ and ‘Thus Must Rust‘, leaves his sound and product floating in its own space. He hasn’t entirely fleshed out his ideas just yet, but he’s heading in the right direction creatively.
Word from Lehmann:
“I started recording this new album in 2013 with big ambitions to make a really beautiful, conceptual, catchy triple-album. After about a year of working on it I became a bit forlorn and then in 2015 I quit music and dropped the album and did nothing at all for a year. Slowly I started resolving in my mind that it was okay to fail – or be a failure – and I started to feel good again and became less down on the futility of making music, then it was easy to finish this album “Poplar Music” and it turned out not half-bad. Here are some songs that remind me that even though times are usually tough, everything is gonna turn out alright and everybody’s gonna buy your album.”
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