Poppy’s previous few releases – the pop-metal hybrid of 2020’s ‘I Disagree’, the grunge-infused ‘Flux’ in 2021, even through to covering Kittie’s ‘Spit’ earlier this year – have centred on her ability to juxtapose loud and quiet: piercing a performative femininity with her guttural roar, say, or pairing high-pitched saccharine vocals with aggressive riffs. ‘Zig’, save for claustrophobic closer ‘Prove It’ has none of this. Opener ‘Church Outfit’ might hint at darkness through lyrics and a tension-building industrial beat, but there’s little release to be found from the second it segues into the wholly bouncy ‘Knock Off’. Instead, we find Poppy’s voice remaining in the middle of her register through a series of songs which hint at pure radio pop and the layered textures of cult Canadians Purity Ring but succeed at neither.
‘Linger’ wafts by forgotten, ‘Flicker’ immediately drops in pace and impact just as it begins to hint at excitement, while ‘Motorbike’ seems to aim for goth-pop peer Lynn Gunn’s PVRIS recent highs but doesn’t possess any of the impact of the likes of ‘Goddess’. The instrumentation of ‘1s 0s’ is far too uninteresting to justify its lengthy presence, and the one attempt at contrast here - a seemingly random drum’n’bass beat thrown over piano ballad ‘The Attic’ – leaves more questions than answers. Weak and boring are never words we’d have ever thought apply to Poppy’s music, but alas here we are – hoping for the ‘Zag’ to come.