Ezra Kire has been a punk stalwart, playing in bands like Leftover Crack and Choking Victim, but Poets Were My Heroes, the latest record from his newest band, Morning Glory, is his most ambitious statement to date. It’s got catchy street-punk anthems in “Everything’s a Song (To Me)” and “Orphan’s Holiday”, but Morning Glory is no mere one-trick pony. The fascinating thing about Poets Were My Heroes is how, in the pretty steadfast, three-chord world of pop-punk, not just how varied the songs are but how eccentric the album gets.
We shift from punk to songs like “Born to December”, which plays like Springsteenian rock, of the expansive folk rock of the title track. More jarring, though, are songs like the military, part-spoken-word skronk of “March of the Asylum” or the heavy string sections that stand in for guitars on “Patiently”. The album takes big risks in these moments, and sure, not all of them work—see the near-metal grind the title track dips into, or the nyah-nyah oddball bounce of “Life’s a Long Revenge”—but it’s that willingness to push the boundaries that make Poets Were My Heroes an admirably weird pop-punk record, and a surprisingly fulfilling listen, even when it misfires.