An off-kilter odyssey...
'United Crushers'

Synthy sorcerers Poliça return with their third and most accomplished album yet, ‘United Crushers’. Undoubtedly one of the most unique sounding acts to grace the alternative scene these past five years, Poliça's last two efforts did however fall into repetition at their weakest moments. Even a combination of tweaked other-worldly vocals, sinister bass grooves and some wigged out R&B percussion can grow old stretched over an entire LP. Luckily, this third stab sees the group utilising what's previously worked while adding a good spoonful of experimentation.

This positive change is seen from the off with ‘Baby Sucks', an almost funky number brimming with an energy and danceability missing on much of their other work. Channy Leanagh's natural vocals are also more apparent and prove as hypnotic as ever, especially on the Portishead sounding melancholy of ‘Fish'. The bare bones of the Poliça sound remains but the production from bandmate Ryan Olson now displays more flair and is filled with some brilliant nuances. In addition tracks also jarringly cut out and immediately enter the following, keeping the listener on edge and hopefully fucking the Spotify generation into checking their connection. It's a trick Trent Reznor's been using to knock listeners off balance for years.

Soundscapes aside the album's themes of racism, loss, sex, motherhood also add a bite missing from similar dreamy groups. Leanagh's pregnancy while recording has added to these observational lyrics, with tracks such as ‘Summer Please' and ‘Someway' dealing with what a sorry world we're leaving new generations to inherit. Still, there's beauty to be found here, and as ever a longing that love can help ease all, if not at least make you forget your woes for a while. It's a screwed up world, but Poliça are taking it head-on and with a spring in their step. They've escaped the dirge and have now come up for air - and we're all the better for it.

8/10

Words: Sam Walker-Smart

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