The appeal of Poliça’s ‘Give You The Ghost’ was the way tracks and sounds morphed, leaving the listener unsure. Was it indie, folk, dub, jazz or what? And such an amorphous approach to the sonics clearly won them fans, with this show, upgraded from The Haunt, promptly selling out.
But the opposite side of the coin is revealed tonight, and it’s only when the four-piece’s music is focused that they truly engage. The plus points come from the double drumkit frenzy bringing to mind Swans or even Adam Ant (‘Violent Games’ particularly is devastating, with its car-alarm addled climax), or the dub that burps from Chris Bierden’s bass – the only guitar on stage this evening. Singer, Channy Leaneagh, also is a force to be reckoned with, writhing around and putting that weird effect on her voice – part modulation, part slippery snake – from a box to the stage’s edge.
But too often the slower tracks blend together, and no amount of crescendo or high-pitched backing vocals from Bierden can save them. It’s like they’re trying to catch our attention through three lenses – call them dub, soul and rock, for the sake of argument. It’s only when any one of the these guiding influences comes through crystal clear that the Poliça mission statement gels. The mystery and intrigue that sprang off that debut album never really makes itself felt as alluringly, tonight at least.
Still, the band are doing something right, some of the time, as the raised hands and all round euphoria that greets the opening bars of ‘Dark Star’ attest. Poliça are probably the kind of musicians who’ll develop and push boundaries over each record, and their will for experimentation is commendable. But you’re left with the feeling an increasing number of people are watching this space, not least the band themselves.
Concorde2, Tuesday 6th November 2012
Words by Jake Kennedy
Photo by Cameron Wittig