Give You The Ghost
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3. Violent Games
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9. Happy Be Fine
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Welcome to the new world of pop. As the UK charts remain filled with the same lazy lyricism and dime-a-dozen Diplo rip productions, there are artists on the outskirts pushing our perceptions and pretentions of pop to an ever-extending boundary. Think Grimes and her Mariah-manipulating vocal, or The Weeknd and his slickly skewed RnB cuts. And now think Poliça. And don’t forget them.
Already heralded by the likes of Justin Vernon and Jay-Z, this Minneapolis outfit have a lot of hype to live up to. And on debut offering Give You the Ghost, they do just that. Formed from members of the already much-respected Gayngs, Poliça came into being after lead vocalist Channy Leanagh showed growing potential in the eyes of her bandmate-turned-producer Ryan Olson.
The album’s subject matter finds its roots in the least groundbreaking of musical motivations, a recent break-up: an age-old muse, but one that profits the 11 tracks with unbound honesty and sentiment. Instead of a tired and wallowing rehash of the past, we’re offered a search for future understanding and acceptance, explored through a world of reverb and Auto-Tune.
On album centrepiece Dark Star, Leanagh levels, “Ain’t no man in this world who can pull me down from my dark star.” It’s an essential summation of the feelings encapsulated on the record. The lyrics are accessible, but never too personal, the context never too glum or over-bearing. It’d be easy to breeze through Give Up the Ghost on first listen and take away nothing but the beauty of it all. Yet it sucks you in, and with every listen a new line flickers into the fray.
Of course, all this happens over the real backbone of the album: its stunning production, intelligent musicianship, and creative use of sounds and samples. The songs twist and spark with flares of percussion, solid basslines, and the occasional blast of brass.
It’s difficult to pick holes in Give Up the Ghost, to separate its influences or pigeonhole it to a specific niche. Poliça have created something that is both unique and universal. Something very pop.
Find more music at the BBC This link will take you off Amazon in a new window
Top Customer Reviews
Finally, now comprising Poliça, we have the fluid Minneapolis member-base that is rewriting the rule book on the use of auto-tune and soft-focus instrumentation. Their debut LP Give You The Ghost seems to initially trace its roots back to Bon Iver`s breakout a capella "Woods" and then through the pioneering work of the 25-strong soft rockin' outfit Gayngs that culminated with the release of their impressive 2010 album Relayted (on which Justin Vernon himself turned in a Bone Thugs-n-Harmony double-take). Backbone of the Gayngs collective, Ryan Olson understandably liked their direction and enlisted fellow subscriber Mike Noyce (equally of the Bon Iver band), as well as bit-part Gayngs vocalist Channy Leanagh (then Moon-Caselle) for the Twin City shakers' next step - upping all their gayme if you will as Poliça.
Using heavily auto-tuned manipulation and echo-looping of Leanagh's eerie voice, Give You The Ghost thus quite quickly becomes a showcase for the striking use of the tool as an effect rather than a form of compensation. More pleasing still is that the album's deluxe bedding for this weapon is equally becoming - cue a rich palette of ticking, chattering instrumentation under which the band's two drummers (Ben Ivascu and Drew Christopherson) exercise their skins eagerly.Read more ›
The singer really can sing, but they use autotune to present her voice in a radically different way.
The antithesis of the sterile and bland way Daft Punk use electronica, Polica's is an ephemeral, gritty kind of sound that's likely to make a real impact on you (although if you like lyrics you might find the level of distortion too much).
They manage to present the style well live too.
Stand out tracks for me are Violent Games, Dark Star and Lay your cards out.
However the glorious Dark Star almost single-handedly redeems this album, a wonderful record, which shows a template for what the rest should/could have been
Since then I've been back and forth with this one. Is it bang-on! or small beer? Of course you already know the answer...
Anyone who's familiar with trip-rock, or the Bristol scene of so many years back, will probably feel this and not be much surprised by anything in it - save maybe the auto-tuned voice and insistent percussion - so that great shouts about the originality of the record will rebound away. When I was told it was some band called Poliça I imagined they were european, maybe Irish. (The name is a Polish word, says Wiki.) When I found out they were Americans it was strangely disappointing. Watching them online didn't help much either; not exactly shoegazing but definitely in a bubble. You might wonder whether such music even wants an audience.
Suits our era very well: sharing without actual communion.
Anyway, whatever gripes or doubts, I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the next chapter. The great thing about pop music, past and present, is that it feels like there's a band for every one of us, uniquely special, regardless of whether they sound reminiscent of another group or clutch of groups who maybe had stronger vocals here, richer musical arrangement there, unforgettable lyrics or melodies. This is Poliça's moment, so after you've inevitably sampled everything for free online, decide whether you want to be supportive and buy the album.
*In case you doubt this, there's a grammatical error printed in the lyrics to Wandering Star. The CD comes in a cardboard sleeve.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a slow burner. It took me a year to get this band. Don't expect to like it straight away. I found that I would do something else in the house while this played, then stop... Read morePublished on 25 Oct. 2013 by Christof
Loved the singles, but the producer seems to think that echo/multi-tracking the vocal ALL THE TIME is novel, and a particular drum sound (especially to round off tracks) is always... Read morePublished on 20 April 2013 by Mr. M. Webber