Fog, Poliça @ Thekla, Bristol, 18/10/2016

PoliçaPoliça’s mood-changing, shape-shifting dream pop expanded earlier this year with the release of new third album, United Crushers. On touring this latest album, which has already taken them around Europe, they will perform in Bristol’s Thekla this evening – which replaces the larger Anson Rooms in their original tour plan.

Supporting Poliça tonight is Fog, the solo artist from Minneapolis whose recently released fifth studio album, For Good. Fog aka Andrew Broder opens the evening with turntables, synth and lingering vocals. His set up is an odd one, with two decks, keyboard and mic, moving between each instrument with fluidity. His rap-come-speech-come-song doesn’t seem to follow any conventional melody - “Kid Kuma” being an example of this - subverting tempo and expectation at every turn. Scratching records while singing and playing keyboard, Fog juggles a number of styles and tempos in one intriguing performance.

Fog seems the perfect support artist for Poliça, with an equally strange yet captivating sound. And like Fog, Poliça also have an unusual set up. It’s not often you see two drum kits on stage, with no guitarist – only bass. They jump right in with tracks from United Crushers including “Berlin” and lead single “Lime Habit”. One thing that’s instantly noticeable however is the pre-recorded material. The synth seems to be on a base track, pre-recorded which is always disappointing. Of course, there are plenty of instruments on stage to reimburse this, and it’s easy to forget the pre-recorded stuff once the rest of the instruments kick in.

Channy Leaneagh’s beautiful distorted vocal paired with the thundering synths and steady bass makes for a captivating performance. Their set list seamlessly integrates their three albums, picking from the many favourites of the crowd including “Chain My Name”, “Dark Star” and “Lay Your Cards Out”. But newest album, United Crushers, takes centre stage, showcasing a more evolved sound that seems less electronically dependent, especially with eerie “Kind”.

Coming back for an encore, Poliça close their set with “Great Regret” and “I Need $” from Shumalith, both with beautiful vocals and fast-paced tempos though unexpected songs to bring the evening to a close. Having long been synonymous with dark, unsettling pop that remains both bewitching and uplifting, Polica unquestionably reaffirm this in a live setting, with United Crushers adding to their already magical discography.

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