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Thursday, 30 January 2014

Polica – Give You the Ghost

Another album I didn’t choose for myself and another qualified success. Polica sound European and somewhat mysterious, as if they hail from some small village at the base of the Carpathians, but disappointingly are actually from Minneapolis, Minnesota. They sound like an amalgamation of the Cocteau Twins, Portishead, Electribe 101 and Kosheen, but with slightly distant and distorted vocals that tantalises and irritates at the same time. ‘Give You the Ghost’ is polished and atmospheric collection of electro meets rock songs.

The first thing that strikes you is how well recorded the album is technically. I really wish I could listen to it on a top quality hi-fi on vinyl, there is such a clarity of sound, subtle layering and complexity evident in all the tracks. Sometimes this level of professionalism detracts from the actual songs and at times you want to scream at the stereo to just let vocalist Channy Leaneagh sing, without some clever and fancy effect masking her efforts. It’s less of an issue with their A-game songs, but their mediocre numbers could benefit from a touch of starkness; as all Scandinavian singers will tell you – less is more.

I have no understanding of how famous Polica are and perhaps these songs are known by everyone on the planet, but my personal favourites are the trip-hoppy ‘Dark Star’, the Liz Fraser homage of ‘The Maker’ and best of all the dirty disco meets My Bloody Valentine sound clash of ‘Violent Games’. It sounds a bit like the Cocteaus too.

It will never be anyone’s favourite album, but I doubt you can be disappointed by the level of passion and quality on offer. I like it a lot.  

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