Poliça – Give Up The Ghost album review

Minneapolis’ Poliça are a band from the future, but not a distant one: 2014, maybe? By that time the predominant trend in music will be, from our point of view, a synthesis of electric instruments and electronic ones, in which rock and dance music are wed. Give Up The Ghost is a near-perfect artifact of this imminent synthesis.  

Fans of Purity Ring will find company in Polica, but where Purity Ring is purely electronic, Poiica blends bass and drums with synths and effects, over which vocalist Channy Leaneagher croons her haunting R&B anthems, all of which is a pretty excellent aesthetic approach (even if one falls flat on their collective face in its execution), but I’ll be damned if every song on here doesn’t sound like a hit to me – I had to keep checking my iPod to see if I really was listening to yet another remarkable hook or vocal melody. What is this, Dare II?

Real standouts include “Violent Games,” which owes something to Kanye West’s 808’s and Heartbreak, but it’s trippy as hell, as my roommate put it, wandering by my room on his way to bed, and I’ll be remembering it for a long time. “Leading to Death” is similarly memorable – it’s one of the strongest closers I’ve encountered lately. One of Polica’s techniques is to wax frenetic  at the ends of songs – the drums explode into double-time fills while the bass, which noodles its way darkly through the whole record, takes off in majestic flights of fancy, and it works. I suppose my only objection was that the lyrics didn’t stand out to me – I don’t recall any of them off hand, without checking.

I’m no fan of lyrics but I noticed them even less than usual this time. Don’t make too much of that – GUTG is an amazing album. Allegedly Polica is Justin Vernon’s favorite band, but please don’t let that keep you from enjoying them. I doubt anything could.

By Roberta Kellogg

Ms. Kellogg believes that music is far too important to be taken seriously. She spends her time in Portland, Oregon listening to records by the Bulletboys and dreaming of the day when she can be an old woman sitting quietly on the porch with skirt and shotgun. She does not suffer fools gladly and her aesthetic standards are impeccable. If you disagree with her venomous reviews you are simply incorrect. Excelsior!

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