Poliça – Give You the Ghost

written by: March 8, 2012
Release Date: February 14th, 2012


Don’t be alarmed that Poliça’s debut album cover recycles a font similar to that of the poster for the movie Drive. The fact that Give You the Ghost coasts like a car on the highway and might very well provide a really fitting soundtrack to a night joyride is purely a coincidence. Maybe it’s strategy.

Listeners are treated to a distorted noise to lead right into an experimental conglomeration in Poliça’s new album, which was released on Valentine’s Day. The vocal work is what hit us next.

From early on, it’s easy to determine how Poliça works with an emphasis on electronic, saturated with heavy guitar and drums that cloud the audio canvas. The beats are fresh and the intentions are clear, especially the way they work with distortion on voice. Unlike top-40 artists of the contemporary scene, Poliça uses its auto-tuning to layer voices instead of correct pitch. These effects add depth to the musical surface.

By track No. 3, listeners might start to notice a trend in the styling of Give You the Ghost, and soon after, you might crave something a little more substantial. The lyrics are difficult to decipher, though the vocal effects are interesting. It’s just that the anti-traditional ways of the band make it stressful to take any deeper meaning from it. It’s also the beauty in what makes the band so mysterious.

“Dark Star” chants between implementations of horns, which weren’t expected but are almost always welcome. Here, they heighten the strength of the song still early in the album, which subsequently strengthens the album as a whole.

Tying in extra instruments is always a risk, but when it pays off, the effort pays off. Poliça is ballsy and smart.

“Form” keeps the pace steady halfway through the album, where many albums start to lag. The synthesizer is funky and cool. Much of the four- to five-minute-long tunes like this one are left to instrumentals to carry them through. This strategy strays away from the common verse-chorus-verse-bridge-etc. form and tosses aside the aspect of traditional construction.

“Wandering Star” possesses a healthy and rich sound that encompasses each theme heard previously along the album. Listeners should be advised to be prepared for this trancelike vacation before closes out. It’s best experienced by itself, free of distraction and with a clear mind. You’ll understand why once it’s over. Poliça reaches its peak, meanwhile nullifying any doubts of the band’s infant success here.

Did we mention that Bon Iver really digs Poliça? Justin Vernon even said they were, “the best band [he’s] ever heard.” We can see why he would fuss about the new sound, though. Backup vocalist Mike Noyce even lent his vocals for a few tracks on the album. There’s no better endorsement in the indie community right now. And Vernon’s infamous attitude doesn’t give way to much enthusiasm it seems. So, if Vernon was really jazzed up about Poliça, then shouldn’t we be, too?

Poliça – Give You the Ghost tracklist:

  1. “Amongster”
  2. “I See My Mother”
  3. “Violent Games”
  4. “Dark Star”
  5. “Form”
  6. “The Maker”
  7. “Lay Your Cards Out”
  8. “Fist, Teeth, Money”
  9. “Happy Be Fine”
  10. “Wandering Star”
  11. “Listening to Death”