Boston-based indie rocker Doug Poppe, going by the moniker An Triangles, is prepping to release his debut album Triangular Life in 2022. The first single off the album, the pop/punk track “Ridicule” arrives on December 3rd.
“Ridicule” is a unique beast. In one sense, it is a back-to-basics rock song. There’s lots of raw distortion on the lead guitar. All the instruments have heavy reverb applied which creates a very big sound. In contrast, the vocals are very clean. It makes them feel a little out of place but certainly works to place a sharp emphasis on them.
There is definitely a major punk influence in “Ridicule.” Not the sort of mid-70’s punk that birthed the Ramones or the Sex Pistols; this has more maturity. Through use of more contemporary production techniques, it feels modern even with a genre that has grown a little out of favor with the masses.
There is so much distortion on this track and with all the reverb, it almost sounds like its being performed in concert. This may be a little much for some who are used to a more squeaky-clean pop sound. A more brash take is certainly not the most common path to go these days, at least not for those seeking radio play, but that’s not what Poppe is going after and that’s refreshing.
Poppe is clearly very talented musically especially considering music wasn’t even his first career choice (a philosophy major who minored in computer science, he dabbled in filmmaking and stand-up comedy). Poppe wrote every song here, and playing all the instruments on it. Regardless of your opinion of his music, it is impossible not to acknowledge how difficult a task that is to accomplish.
Let us not glance past Poppe’s talents as a player as well. The multi-layered drum and bass intro is rich and complex and honestly the bass is so fantastic in “Ridicule,” I can’t get enough of it. The lead guitar parts are very nice, nothing extraordinary but they fit the song well. The melody is certainly catchy, but the strongest element of the song lies in the words.
On the An Triangles website, writer Annelise Eppen describes Poppe’s music as being inspired by the “pithy, detached poetry” of artists like David Berman. Berman was an indie musician best known as the late songwriter behind Silver Jews. On “Ridicule,” Berman’s influence is most apparent in lyrics like “dissecting an obituary, don’t tell me where we failed to see the greater truth.” Poppe is a philosophy major, and that translates into his lyrics as well.
Doug Poppe has a lot of potential as a musician. It seems like he hasn’t quite figured out his artistic vision, but the release of Triangular Life early next year may display that yet. “Ridicule” is a fun listen that doesn’t break the norm but builds on its predecessors and parent genre. A worthwhile listen for old-school punk fans and pop fans alike.