The titans of ethereal synth-pop have returned, and this time they’re bringing an industrial, almost trip-hop tinge. The Raw Exit EP, the latest release from the Minneapolitan five piece Poliça, is a high-energy innovative postscript to their 2013 acclaimed sophomore, Shulamith, which is nothing less than a digital whirlwind. Having toured extensively worldwide, playing venues from East London’s CAMP basement, to their upcoming appearances at Glastonbury and a score of other major UK festivals, the band are acquiring a noted reputation on the circuit, and this latest follow-up does not disappoint.
The four tracks constituting Raw Exit have evidently been meticulously hand-picked. Each instantiates a different facet of the band’s signature avant garde style, weaving in and out of positive, bouncy numbers and downbeat, wayward grooves. That said, all is bound together by Channy Leaneagh’s vocals which are as eerily beautiful as ever before.
We’re dropped into its capitalised title track to begin. "RAW EXIT" boasts a cacophony of funky dub-like beats from the outset. Within moments, a bass-driven groove emits whilst synths weave from ear to ear, all the while dripping with a futuristic fuzz backdrop. Soon after, Channy’s infectious lyricism of such poetics as, "I was ready to die alone" kick in, and the song’s in full swing. It really is just a straight up, straight into action opener, serving its position on the EP well, despite its typically melancholic subject matter.
The psychedelic follower, "Baby Blue" is something quite distinct, however. It’s more wayward, more wistful, more vagarious – like a vocalized Tipper. There’s an intoxicated, almost disorientated sensation to it. It’s difficult to convey, but it captures and entices you, slowly building up, layer by layer before gently flowing away into a hollow nothingness. Not, to be sure, is this in any way a tarnish on the track, though, as the modal riffs and range of percussion make for an enjoyable listen throughout, harking back to Shulamith’s more delicate, meditative numbers. Not a band for persistent gloom, "Great Regret" is filled with consistently energetic, major key riffs, whilst such catchy lines as ‘too fine to forget’ soar over the scaling synths. And finally, in case trip-hop, catchy pop, and sombre indie vocals prove insufficient for a single EP, the release culminates by covering a live favourite, Lesley Gore’s ’63 classic "You Don’t Own Me".
This is a band who are having fun and exploring the parameters of their genre to great effect. Poliça continue to tour extensively – already having performances in front of audiences worldwide, and television features such as Later with Jools Holland under their belt – and they show no sign of stepping on the breaks any time soon. The Minnesotans are promising much for the future, and I am confident that it will be business as usual.
Release: 30th June 2014, Memphis Industries