Pollyn – Living in Patterns – album review

Pollyn – Living in Patterns (Music Music Group)
Available to download or stream now. Album re-release available from 12 June 2012.

With dreamy vocals and trip hop beats Pollyn have found themselves favourably compared to Portishead. They take on a funkier nu-disco sound with new album Living in Patterns and find an evolution of their style.

LA-based electro trio Pollyn are about to make a welcome return with the European release of second long player Living in Patterns (originally released in 2011 as a nine-track album).

Previous outings have seen them favourably compared to Portishead thanks to the dreamy vocals of Genevieve Artadi over the trip hop rhythms and riffs of percusionist Adam Jay Weissman and guitarist Anthony Cava. That comparison certainly still stands but where the former is dark, here Pollyn start to add a lightness. There is often a sense of a band at play with skipping Samba beats and the scent of new wave across many of the tracks.

The lead single How Small We Are is an upbeat tickle of a beat punctuated with a clatter of sharp but warm percussion. The insistant riff gives a nod to Talking Heads while ethereal vocals drift across cosmic wah-wahs.

The space synths flow through the rest of the album and provide an atmospheric foil to Genevieve’s stark vocal and often nihilistic lyrics.

You’re Ok and Going Through The Motions come closer to that darker sound and edgier feel; paranoia after the party. Same Old Thing echoes with the vast emptiness of industrial electro in a Joy Division ilk then ushers in a military rhythm and dystopian synth riff.

But the upbeat tracks resonate with the band’s native California. Big skies, crashing waves and bonfires on summer sands. They shimmy around you with a coy smile, pulling insistantly at your hand until you lose yourself to the dance.

The two new tracks recorded for this release fit seamlessly with the previous set, showing off light and dark sides.

Outta Luck bursting but never overloaded with complicated sounds topped with a teasing lyric softned by the purr in Genevieve’s vocal. Lost in the Night is the other side of the coin; a trembling bud which builds to be all at once starkly electro yet retaining a delicate vulnerability.

Our Home Became A House thick with giddying harmonies, complicated but clear beats and fascinating interstellar sounds. And album closer Look For Light perfects the pop funk sound and leaves you drifting on a blissful memory and the urge to move.

This juxtaposition of up and downbeat tracks throughout the album serves to enhance the sense that a dark heart beats beneath, conjuring just enough unease in the sound to make it interesting electro as opposed to background lounge.

Put this on your summer soundtrack and it’ll find a place whether you’re feeling the heat of cracked earth beneath your bare feet or woefully watching dark clouds and rain take control of the season.

All words by Sarah Lay. You can read more from Sarah on her blog or follow her on Twitter.

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Sarah is a former editor of Louder Than War and a freelance music writer for numerous other publications online and in print. Co-owner of Reckless Yes Records she has put out music by LIINES, Pet Crow and lots of other awesome bands as well as put on shows by bands including Bivouac, Mark Morriss, Desperate Journalist and Dream Nails. She's an author, user experience designer and digital content strategist, as well as an occasional broadcaster. Sarah is a compulsive collector of coloured vinyl, a believer in the boogie and is in love with possibilities.


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