On Sad Sour Future, The Poison Control Center shows itself to be nothing but sweet, serving up expert power pop confections and slightly proggy jams. Yet too much sweetness can leave a kid crying for a dose of ipecac, and both the album and the songs suffer somewhat from excess.
Of 17 songs, over half run longer than four minutes when a trim might have been advisable. Of the two singers, one has a tendency toward They Might be Giants-style over-enunciation, which works for me about 60 percent of the time.
On the other hand, Sad Sour Future contains some really lovely music. "Walls of City Hall" opens the album in a rush of anthemic power pop, complete with businesslike rhythm guitar, glammy synth and breathy, reverb-heavy vocals. "Stay Golden" is trippy, indie psychedelia at its best, and "Yellow Images" is groovy blues straight out of the Beatles catalogue. "Start the Revolution" and "Calling Card" are sing-along catchy.
Though created by four songwriters collaborating at a distance, the album feels consistent and cohesive. "Let's make it easier than it is," they suggest on "Eye." And they do—sometimes too easy. That's when I need a Slayer break.
The Poison Control Center plays the Badlander Friday, July 9, at 9 PM with Mini Mansions, Victory Smokes and Velcro Kicks. $5.