Polly Scattergood: Arrows (Mute)
Colchester born Indie pop, experimental, alternative rock singer/songwriter, Polly Scattergood returns with her long awaited second album. Louder Than War’s Paul Scott-Bates was keen to review.
Unfortunately, it seems that being a female singer nowadays brings inevitable comparisons, so I won’t make them, yet. Released on her twentyseventh birthday, the second album from Polly Scattergood follows her eponymously titled 2009 debut which contained wonderful pieces of dark and pop in equal measure. Arrows is no different in that respect, but, this time round the guitars have been mostly replaced by synthesizers and the addictiveness is still there.
Opener Cocoon from its subtle intro soon builds into a marvellously memorable track. The chorus is a rolling wave of melodious brilliance which will stay with you for quite some time. “From my cocoon I will let you in”, and, there is a clue to the unique talent that lies ahead. Let it not be said that Polly is emotionless, and, equally she cannot be dismissed as another wannabe pop Princess. Her punk sensibilities are clear to see if only you’d take a listen, and, the pure emotion on some tracks leads you to believe that Polly is about to burst into tears. Miss You is an incredible piece of lyricism and standalone poetry in its own right. A simple piano backing cannot hide the haunting yet beautiful words.
Her recent spot supporting label mates Goldfrapp will have impressed, particularly with tracks like Wanderlust which could quite easily have been from the main act’s repertoire and would easily nestle on Black Cherry and Subsequently Lost wouldn’t sound out of place on a Pet Shop Boys long player as she bursts into a bass driven electronic delight.
Album highlight Disco Damaged Kid explores lifes moments of euphoria and slowly climbs and climb, until when you expect it to burst into a high powered chorus of anthemic quality, the urge is resisted and it falls back down again. In terms of songwriting it’s genius and for a writer so young we must all take notice.
Silver Lining insists Polly “feels no pain” but you can’t help feel that there is lots under the skin. Album closer I’ve Got A Heart will tear at your inner soul. Can we hear Polly’s tears? Probably. Superb.
At a time when we are being flooded by second rate 80s sounding wannabes Polly has harnessed the commercial excitement of the era and mixed with her own emotional roller coaster to produce an album which, if there’s any justice, will make everyone sit up and listen.
Put away your Florence wailing and give this girl a listen.
All words by Paul Scott-Bates. More of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War can be found here. Paul’s website is hiapop Blog. Paul is working hard to save Radio Lancashire’s On The Wire, the BBCs longest running alternative music programme. Follow him on twitter as @saveonthewire for all On The Wire news or follow hiapop Blog on Twitter, @hiapop.