Minnesota’s Polica making a mark

Published 10:19 am Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Minnesota band is vaulting toward the big stage.

Polica (pronounced Poe-Lisa) is generating massive Minneapolis hype, especially after selling out the band’s album release show at First Ave. for the debut “Give You the Ghost” on Valentine’s Day. The band has since embarked on a U.S. tour and has been featured in multiple national media outlets, incuding Rolling Stone.

But “Give You the Ghost” earns the attention. Polica’s warp-speed rise has been fueled by a fresh and haunting style.

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At the center is singer Channy Leaneagh, who’s auto-tuned vocals echo and soar across an expansive album.

There’s no need for guitars, as the band relies on Chris Bierden’s melodic bass lines and drummers Ben Ivascu and Drew Christopherson to guide the group over a sea of synthesizers and electronics. Producer Ryan Olson also played a key role.

With auto-tuned vocals, electronics and two drummers, it’s easy to expect unpolished, cluttered tracks. But “Give You the Ghost” cycles forward in a controlled and well-timed way.

The gears come close to spinning free when the drums bloom into blended rolls to cap the soulful “Lay Your Cards Out” — one of Polica’s first singles.

While Leaneagh has already received much of the attention for her heavily distorted, yet enticing vocals, the rest of the band is key in guiding the sails.

Polica blends elements of R&B, jazz, rock and electronic music into a sound that’s impossible to lump into a blanket genre.

Though at times difficult to understand, Leaneagh’s vocals echo over each track and shine on songs like “Dark Star.”

Many songs remain subdued, but Leaneagh’s emotions crescendo on “Dark Star” as she sings “Ain’t no man in this world who can pull me off my dark star.”

“Give You the Ghost” peaks with “Leading to Death,” which closes the album with a flurry of drums over Leaneagh singing “I dream of you my strangler.”

At times, the band seems to feel for it’s sound, leading to moments of over-production.

Some listeners will shrug off Polica, which is understandable since the band’s sound has few traditional hooks and can come off as distant.

If it clicks for you, it’s hard to shake.

Minnesota boasts a long history of bands with unique sounds, but Polica holds vast potential. It’ll be fun to see where the group goes next.