It’s quite extraordinary for a band to consist of two drums, a base, a synthesizer and a singer. These extraordinary arrangements of course develop remarkable sounds. The band behind such characteristics simply must be very exceptional as well. And POLIÇA is in deed exceptional. The band- formed by Channy Leaneagh (vocals), Ryan Olsen (arrangements), Chris Bierden (bass), Drew Christopherson (drums 1) and Ben Ivascu (drums 2) – created a sound that has never been heard before. Their debut record Give You The Ghost was released in the year 2012 and shortly after that Justin Vernon (head of BON IVER) told the Rolling Stone: “They’re the best band I’ve ever heard.”
This statement caused a sensation – everyone wanted to listen to Justin Vernons favourite band. And he really has a point to say a thing like that- as already mentioned, POLIÇA invented a new sound – with the help of auto-tune. A program which is able to correct the tone pitches. You can say that auto-tune is the American based bands special ingredient for their success- it makes Leaneaghs voice sound like a blurred hallucination of angles. But already back on POLIÇA‘s first album has been a little problem – you’re getting too quickly used to the new sound and the music seems uniformly. Just the same issue appears on their new record Shulamith – named after the dead feminist writer Shulamith Firestone. All twelve songs are good – but is ‘good’ enough?
“Drums. Bass. Synths. Me, Women.” says singer Leaneagh about the second album. These are the most obvious features of Shulamith – the arrangement and the feminist lyrics, mostly being about unbearable men ( e.g. So leave: “So leave me/ Alone is all i know/I don’t like it when you tell the boys/ That I’m your girl/ String me up like a lucky charm/With plastic perls”). It’s kind of disappointing that there aren’t any surprises on Shulamith. POLIÇA only continue their well-known art-rock sound (it’s just a bit more pop and r’n’b than Give You The Ghost). There is the opener Chain My Name– a sudden begin, electronic eighties sounds and Leaneaghs mysterious warped voice. “It’s really quite confusing/ You’re pushing me away/ And then you’re pulling“ are the lines that stuck in your head after listening to Smug, another tack featuring bombastic synth structures. POLIÇA‘s single Tiff – a feature with the beloved Justin Vernon – is probably the best single on Shulamith. The auto-tuned voices complete one another perfectly and the shocking video in which Channy Leaneagh fights herself pretty violently transform this track into the best piece of the album.
Shulamith is a solid record. It pursues the spirit of Give You The Ghost and POLIÇA therefor keeps their roots. But sometimes little changes are necessary to transform a good record to an extraordinary one. POLIÇA‘s ideas are yet extraordinary, now they only need to advance them so that their next record won’t be that equably.