Archived Story

Polica takes a new path on ‘Shulamith’

Published 10:50am Friday, October 25, 2013

Polica burst onto the Minnesota music scene in 2012 with “Give You the Ghost” and a sound that didn’t appear easy to duplicate on a followup album.

Thankfully, on “Shulamith” Polica doesn’t replicate its debut; instead, the band does a surprisingly good job of building off its debut.

Where “Give You the Ghost” opened with an intoxicating riff on “Amongster,” “Shulamith” opens with a poppy, rhythm-driven “Chain My Name.”

Songs like “Smug” and “Warrior Lord” rely more heavily on Channy Leaneagh’s beautiful, but heavily-manipulated vocals, and the riffs and loops take more of a back seat.

In that way, Polica is sure to alienate a few fans with “Shulamith” and garner a few new ones, too. It’s not that the album veers far from the band’s unique blend of electronics, pop and hints of R&B. But, “Shulamith” is a bit of a tougher nut to crack. The songs employ fewer hooks to catch listeners right away; and listeners need to burrow into the blend of slinky bass, atmospheric electronics and dual drums.

The album peaks with “Tiff” — a slinky, building track featuring Justin Vernon of Bon Iver —and “Spilling Lines.” “Give You the Ghost” produced more standout tracks, while “Shulamith” is more a marathon of an album. It never bursts forward, but it moves ahead with a steady, cohesive vision.

It’s a different album than “Give You the Ghost,” which is definitely a good thing. Whether you like the changes more, will be decided by each listener.

Most importantly, “Shulamith” proves Polica didn’t just catch fire in a bottle and can have staying power.

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