There are familiar elements at play in the work of Bus Stop Poets, a DIY rock group from Detroit whose sound is as much mired in the unreserved passion of The Stooges as it is the melodic twang of Wilco. Their work balances across a handful of genres without laying any specific allegiances, deftly curating a brash amalgam of influences into a coherent and singular musical perspective.
Built around the combined creativities of singer-guitarist John Mabilia, bassist Johnny Edick, drummer Randy Nelson and singer-percussionist Cindee Lish, the band expands and contracts as necessary for any given song. They often pare down to a trio but will, on occasion, build to a much larger rhythmic organism, complete with backing doo wop harmonies (courtesy of The Lafayettes). Veering between Americana and something a bit more muscular, the band effortlessly draws from different corners of their collective inspirations, picking and choosing bits from alt country touchstones and Motown classics as well as various Motor City rockers such like MC5 and Bob Seger to fashion a potent and compelling wash of vivid tones and ramshackle arrangements.
They released their self-titled debut in 2013 and have spent the subsequent years building an impressive following through rigorous bouts of touring and captivating performances – and it didn’t hurt that their song “Beautiful Day” was used for both a Chevy ad and was featured in two episodes of Showtime’s “Shameless.” Their sophomore record, “Leave It to the Kids,” due out July 26, blends the pop complexities of Fleetwood Mac with the bucolic shuffle of The Jayhawks, and even manages to evoke the pastoral sway of Laurel Canyon in the late ‘60s.
On their recent single, “Blow,” the band delves into the theme of lost love as heard within the framework of an acoustic-pop landscape overflowing with bobbing bass plunks and harmonies worthy of Crosby, Stills & Nash. There are more than a few moments when the song’s overt country influences make their presence known, allowing the song to bloom and evolve without care for genre borders or expectations. It’s a breezy rhythmic marvel, one that wears its rock, pop and folk inspirations proudly on its sleeve.