After last year’s unimaginably successful debut, Give You The Ghost, there was an understandable sense of second album worry when Poliça announced the release of their second album, Shulamith. You can rest assured that these worries were totally wrong, Shulamith is completely brilliant.
It’s the kind of album that rarely comes about nowadays, one that actively strives to better and push forward the band’s sound, which is honestly refreshing. There’s still the very Poliça-like haunting lyrics and warped electronica and Channy Leaneagh’s vocals are as intoxicating as ever, but this newest album is definitely building on the band’s distinctive sound that we know and love.
What I think I love most about Poliça and specifically Channy Leaneagh is how personal she makes everything she makes; you can feel the heart and soul in every line she sings. It’s almost as if she’s in her own little world and we just happen to be observing – it’s hauntingly personal. The lyrics are wonderful as always – poetical, beautiful and often dark and almost sinister – they’re suitably complemented by deliciously moody rhythms in a way that really produces the perfect atmosphere for each song. The sound of the entire album is deliberately unusual with manipulated electronics and vocals but it’s so well put together that it works so well it’s almost unbelievable, especially with the complexity of the individual elements.
For the Bon Iver fans amongst you, ‘Tiff’ features Justin Vernon in one of the best songs on the album. Stylistically, it’s the electronica-R’n’B fusion that Poliça effortlessly pull off over and over again, with bewitching poetic lyricism packed with Channy’s characteristic philosophical and feminist undertones. The whole album, in fact, is named after Shulamith Firestone, a Canadian-born feminist and founding member of several feminist groups. ‘Tiff’ is definitely a song that Shulamith would have been proud of being attributed to, and is described by the band as being ‘a portrait of a woman as her own enemy’. The music video is just as captivating as the song itself, though admittedly not for the squeamish.
The album doesn’t seem to dip at any level; there’s a consistency of well-crafted songs that is both refreshing and oddly overwhelming at the same time, from the opening song ‘Chain My Name’ to the swooping slinkiness of ‘Vegas’ and the lyrical mastery of a fair few other gems. It’s an extraordinarily revolutionary second album in terms of pushing the band’s sound forward and the songs’ lyrical content, but there’s still the age-old issues of love at the heart of many of the songs. The combination of Channy Leaneagh’s voice and the rhythms of the music she’s accompanying really set this album out as a winner in my opinion. Definitely give it a go if you haven’t already.
…Bryony is listening to Poliça – ‘Vegas’…