Broke – (hed) p.e.

Broke – (hed) p.e.

California Poppy 25X Resin Extract

California Poppy has the reputation of being a non-addictive alternative to the opium poppy, though it is less powerful. California poppy is a traditional mild, relaxing smoke – but not that mild – do not drive after use.

It is difficult to criticize a group like this, for multiple reasons. Firstly, critics are easily dismissed as unrepresentative of the group’s actual audience, who are likely considerably less discriminating in their reactions to the product offered. Secondly, critiques of the group’s "message" can be deflected with the bemused smirk that the critic is "over-reacting" – that this is, at bottom, a pop-culture excretion like a thousand others, and to single it out for vituperation grants it too much gravitas. Finally (this being a corollary to the first), a critic can simply be dismissed as a cranky old prude, attempting to retain some (largely imagined, both in the minds of promoters and detractors) "traditional American values" in the face of an advancing culture. For these reasons, and likely more, criticism of rock music must, to hold any validity at all, be centered around, if not limited to, the music.

This record can be summed up by the name of its label: jive. It’s a watery attempt to capitalize on a sound currently ruling the adolescent hard rock/metal audience. Hard rock and metal audiences are deeply riven of late by the addition of hip-hop influences to what has been a fairly structured – and fairly aesthetically successful – formula thus far. It amounts to an age divide; those under twenty-five seem to have a profound affection for rapping, heavily tattooed white biker-types, while those old enough to remember a metal without such genre-busting touches pine for days gone by.

(Hed) PE are one of the worst acts currently mining the rap-metal ditch. Their music bears little resemblance to prior notions of metal, or even of songcraft. The grinding, overamped guitar riffs come as staccato, repetitive blows to the head, like a pile-driver, only not as pleasant. The drums compete with a scratching DJ to create a general sense of rhythm, without the sensory pleasures an actual beat might provide. And the vocals coruscate the listener over the top of this sonic soup, offering no message beyond an endless stream of curses and vague intimations of mob violence. (In contemporary hard rock, as in much of the rap absorbed by the same white, suburban fan-base, mob violence is accepted as a fitting display of group unity.)

This is a bad record. It conforms to current trends, though, and however transparent that market-pandering may be, a certain number of listeners will still wind up buying the thing. Too bad for them.

Phil Freeman

CApoppy.jpg (12757 bytes)