As the album’s second to last track, the yearnful sounds of “Wandering Star” signal the wind down for the Poliça album “Give You The Ghost.” The sounds of “Wandering Star” cling to you long after you stop listening, and they get a compelling visual treatment in the “Wandering Star” video that does the same.
The first thing I would tell folks just coming upon Polica is, they have two drummers, Drew Christopherson & Ben Ivascu. Both are excellent. They play off each other, they accent each other, and they do a superb job of moving under the guidance of base guitar of Chris Bierden. Between this driving structure, keyboard, vocals & synths bounce back and forth wildly.
The battling drums provide significant room for adventure while maintaining forward momentum and this start to finish dichotomy is the source of the album’s continual payoff. This is a group of stark raving musicians, led by vocalist Channy Leneagh & producer Ryan Olson. Polica boldy takes each track in directions I would simultaneously describe as powerful, gentle, psychedelic, streamlined, funky, haunting, catchy and distant. This is an absolutely brilliant band.
The vocals and echoes are utilized primarily as another interesting instrument for conveying sonic tones moreso than language. It’s quite possible to lose yourself in the sounds and completely forget there are words underneath them. Which isn’t to say the lyrics are unintelligible, or insignificant. In fact, they’re highly interesting. Highly instinctual tales of almost primordial living, dreaming and witnessing passions twisted up with 21st century emotional confusion. Both eras are represented in admirably raw fashion. Animal lust, drugs, manic streaks, failing to resist what is worst from whom is worst, this album is thick with what hangs over the edge… and yet, there’s something hopeful underneath, coming almost exclusively from the music, as if the tones are massagin the intentions along, yearning them to heal.
Though Bon Iver is present on the album, when it comes to both rhythms and autotune use, I find a heavy hip hop influence in moments that hearken Kanye West, The Weeknd & Big Boi. “Form” in particular seems like a down the rabbit hole version of Kanye West’s “New Day” and its Nina Simone samples.
I wasn’t the least bit surprised to find out, when I checked out lead singer Channy Cassello’s twitter, that she was tweeting from a concert of The Weeknd and yearning for him to play his ultra-clean track Rolling Stone – it’s my favorite track of The Weeknd’s and whatever glorious new genre that track and this Polica album are in, they belong in it together. This album has absolutely dominated my listening habits, and, I’m confident it will do the same for you.
3 Cool Facts About Polica
1 Give you the ghost is produced and composed by Ryan Olson of Digitata fame, who is pretty much making a full time gig out of moving behind the scenes of Lenagh projects these days (listen)
2 Although Give You The Ghost is the second highly experimental by Leneagh, as she is also the lead singer of Gayngs, she hasn’t always moved in such mysterious ways. Under her married stage name “Channy Moon Cassello”, Channy was the front for Roma di Luna, a folksy, horn heavy r & b group (watch video)
3 Poliça is named after an unintelligible error that came back from Leneagh’s computer after a crash (watch video).