I wrote about Poliça’s fantastic debut Give You The Ghost last year as part of my year end music list. It landed at #6 on a list of 12 albums for 2012.
Here’s that review in its entirety:
Since I started this end of the year music list at the beginning of this month, I’ve had that “sleep on it” approach. I’ve changed this list (for the better, mind you) at least two or three times now. This album wasn’t even on the original draft, but after some consideration now is, considering I jammed the heck out of Poliça’s debut Give You The Ghost on every road trip this year.
As I referenced in my year ending list for 2010, my album of the year (and decade, for that matter) was GAYNGS’ Relayted, an amalgam of some 25 members spanning at least 7 different bands.
Say what you will about the “supergroup” label, but that album slayed and is, for me, the best example of this current 80s-influenced/pseudo-yacht rock revival we’re experiencing (see: Washed Out, Toro Y Moi, Chromatics, Twin Shadow, DIIV, Poolside).
Three of the tracks on Relayted (“No Sweat,” “The Beatdown,” “Faded High”) featured the vocals of one Channy Moon Casselle, formerly of Roma di Luna. My experience with GAYNGS (including driving 700 miles from Florida to Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro, North Carolina to see them live on the only tour they’ve ever done – and possibly will ever do) led me to check out all of the other related (no pun intended) bands, including The Rosebuds, Roma di Luna, Digitata, Doomtree, Solid Gold, and Megafaun. This year, after Roma di Luna disbanded, Poliça formed, and Give You The Ghost was released in April.
GYTG is the subject of some discussion regarding Channy’s vocals, which are heavily autotuned. She sounds more like she did on Relayted than on the Roma albums. And while she’s clearly a talented vocalist, I guess purists contend with the thick effects, obscuring the natural beauty in favor of distorted reverberations.
One way or another, this is a killer road trip record. Tracks like “Violent Games” feature a driving beat and a repeated sound that very closely resembles a didgeridoo. It’s a little bit dancey, a little bit electronic, and a whole lotta-bit difficult to categorize.
On a scale from Polish insurance policies to Zawojan mountain ranges, I give Poliça’s Give You The Ghost a solid Last Prom on Earth.
Thoughts on GYTG since last year:
So it’s been more than three months since I wrote that, and I still jam it from time to time. Now that I’ve had some time to let it sink in, I still feel as strongly now about it as I did now. It’s perfect for driving.
What I can say now is that, with repeated listens, there’s a certain dark overtone to the whole thing. Maybe it’s because of the inorganic instrumentation, but man, there’s a lot of melancholy here. Tracks like “Form” are wrought with agony:
Falling in and out of love with me
Spare me the misery
What’s the form to make love fit?
What’s the storyline of unraveling?
In interviews that have been published since I wrote my original review, I found out that Channy got divorced prior to the release of Give You The Ghost. That would explain the desperate lyrics. In “Happy Be Fine” she sings: “I need some time to think about my life without you. I know when I leave you’ll die.”
While that may sound melodramatic and a little juvenile, she’s not talking about a physical death. It’s humanizing because, as someone in their mid-20s, I’m now starting to see friends of mine get married – and subsequently, divorced – early in their lives. It’s a torturous experience to watch from the sidelines. I can’t fathom the experience. As a friend, I feel helpless and don’t know what to say as I watch the tower someone has built collapse under itself.
So while my initial thought that Give You The Ghost was a great driving jam, over time it has morphed into an almost overwhelming gloom. But it’s a two-edged… uh, gloom storm. It’s like a rainy day. You love the departure from the sun and heat, but too much of it will weigh on your soul.
From their tremendous first album Give You The Ghost, this is Poliça’s “Leading to Death” –
Standout tracks: “Fist, Teeth, Money” and “Wandering Star”
Weakest track: I enjoy all of them, really.
RIYL: GAYNGS, The Seven Fields of Aphelion, Roma di Luna. Industrial or new wave-inspired neo-dance music. That description is all over the place. I recognize that.