OPM, Opium?! California Poppy? Geddit?

OPM and their clever name are back with another cleverly named album. Will the double entendre's ever end? But this is what OPM seems to be about. To look at them, especially after 'Heaven Is A Half-pipe', you might think these are all bad boy, Rock 'n Rollers, especially with all the drug references. Of course, if you have to spell something out, clearly you are being pretentious. This is the feeling I get from listening to this new album.

The first track is just a brief interlude. The second track introduces some good harmony in the vocals, which continues throughout the majority of the album. The album is most definitely not rock. It's firmly in the reggae genre, verging on ska. Nice amount of swing, if you like that sort of thing but certainly not rock, not ever skater rock really. The album reminds me of the Fun Lovin' Criminals but without the mean, gangster edge and ripping guitars. They are certainly not up to that level. 'Lion's Pride' is somewhat heavier than the previous tracks; the guitars make themselves felt, but it still doesn't break the mould.

The whole album seems similar to the first couple of albums. It is reggae, though this has less rock influences. On the outset, the band do look like skaters but the vocals seem somewhat innocent and rather boring, covering generic subject matter. 'Laid-Back' seems to be what they were aiming for and they have certainly achieved that. This is one album you could play as background music, or maybe play at some kind of house party. Some songs might make you giggle in a 14 year old sort of way. 'Born Again Virgin' certainly fits this bill.

The vocals are quite soft sounding. There is some nice rap lyrics thrown in here and there. The swearing has been toned down and just seems somewhat fake and impotent - like a cobra with no fangs. Since there's 5 of them I guess I wouldn't want to pick a fight but still, the image does not fit the music.

Technically, it does sound pretty and well produced. There are some nice brass sections and harmonies. The album is certainly more accessible, though whether breaking their image to sell more records is a good thing or not is up to the listener. Overall, one track seemed to blend into another with little variation. OPM are obviously influenced by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Sublime but cannot hold a candle to either. Sure, it's relaxing and chilling and if you are a fan of OPM you'll be contented. They are good musicians and the album certainly reflects that, but if you are trying to impress your mates at your next house party and you need some chilling music, just play the Chillis or Led Zepp.