Grace / Poppy
Artist Grace
Title Poppy
Format CD
Released 1996
Label Cyclops
1. Burglars (3:43)
2. Sing Something Simple (3:41)
3. Anorak Of Fire (5:07)
4. Resurrection (3:49)
5. Oklahoma (5:25)
6. Heart And Soul (6:05)
7. Secret Garden (8:22)
8. Touch (4:50)
9. The Wolf (4:46)
10. Emily (4:53)
11. Rich Men Singing (3:10)
12. Court Of Despair (6:02)
Notes Arriving on the heels of the excellent "Pulling Strings..", "Poppy" came as both a shock and a disappointment. I kept waiting for those adventurous song structures, dark subjects, and imaginative melodies, but they are few and far between. The first cut starts off sounding like FOREIGNER and ends up like SUPERTRAMP, although it must be said that even when wounded GRACE has more subtlety than FOREIGNER and more restraint than SUPERTRAMP, so "Burglars" is in fact one of the highlights.

If the album title was not supposed to be a play on words, it should have been. Many of the songs are relatively simple even allowing for the confines of pop music, and seem like more than a mere step backward from "Pulling Strings...". But once I get passed that reality, I find much to enjoy in "Anorak of Fire" and "Heart and Soul", with its best BE BOP DELUXE imitation, while "Oklahoma" does capture some of the suspense of the federal building bombing that took place in 1995. "Rich Men Singing" is in the best tradition of the British legends LINDISFARNE, while the closer "Court of Despair" bows out with the album's most celtic passages.

Still, at least half of what's here seems to be going through the motions, when we know that GRACE is capable of so much more. Even "Secret Garden", clocking in over 8 minutes, ultimately fails with its lacklustre vocals and cutesy whistles. Several tracks again hearken back to the band's 80s lineage (thinking JAPAN), such as "Touch" and "Emily". Even though parts of these songs are appealing, I end up just wanting them to do something...mostly end. That is never a good sign, so at the risk of popping a few buttons I must downgrade from 2.5 stars again.