At first, The Poison Control Center sounds like yet another genre-bending post-rock, pysch-pop experiment stuck somewhere between Thurston Moore’s distortion and a Roky Erickson haze. Soon, however, on the aptly titled, full-length debut from this Ames, Iowa, quartet, the collage effect begins to appear: Strokes-ish chunka-chunka guitar, pulsating Pavement bravado, and a Black Rebel Motorcycle Club howl. But these influences can only take the record so far and somewhere along the way any indication of the band’s own innovations gets lost.
Take “Park Slope,” a doom and gloom ballad that is intriguing, somewhat inspiring, but too closely resembles Bright Eyes, right down to Conor Oberst’s vocal quiver.
There are bright spots, especially the album’s most unusual offering. “Ride The Thunder,” an eight-minute psychedelic prog romp, commences with a dirty guitar thump and wafts to a slow burn and fuzzy licks finish. It’s by far the biggest payoff on the record. “Thrill” and “Shot In The Face” are the other gems, both exuding the band’s understanding of swift, chunky pop and meticulously placed string arrangements.
But while many of the tracks on Collage of Impressions do, in fact, leave an impression, for the time they’re mostly fleeting. (Jonathan Stumpf)
The Poison Control Center plays the Badlander Monday, May 26, at 9 PM. Themes, Mute Era and Victory Smokes open. $5.