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Polaroids Of Androids

Record Reviews



Sydney has had a steady flow of impressive noisy punk bands emerge over the past few years. Talons, Whores and Dead Farmers, to name but a few, have molded their angsty outbursts of frustration into exciting and genuinely catchy punk music. Songs exist at the other end of the spectrum, and while still classifiable under the wide umbrella of 'punk music', they don't possess quite the same dangerous swagger as their peers, choosing instead to mix together sensible pop structures with melodic arrangements to create a less aggressive form of the genre.

While not attempting to take anything away from the aforementioned acts - and something which is probably a punch more suitably aimed at their less talented imitators - Songs stand out not only due to their slightly different approach, but also because of the thoughtfulness and genuine sense of depth apparent throughout their music. Upon first listens this might seem like an odd comment to make, with the majority of this album focusing on a stripped-back sloppy pop punk style. However, it's the consistent attention to detail - that exists mostly on the edges of the compositions, only coming into focus after a few listens - that makes this such a fantastically enjoyable record.

The group's loose style is reminiscent of the successful Flying Nun era with their sound not too dissimilar to that of The Clean, Straitjacket Fits or The 3Ds. While hardly sounding like they have ripped out a critical page in the New Zealand Music History textbook, the contribution of these pioneering bands, not only musically but also through their 'everyday life' lyrical themes, is obviously a strong influence on the group's core sound. It also connects well with one of the record's most comforting attributes - it's timeless nature. This doesn't sound like music obsessed with the here and now, current trend or if it will be a successful accompaniment for a teenage vampire love scene. Instead, the music's carefree attitude gives off the impression it was mostly created to appease the creative yearnings of those involved, all the while hardly sounding unwelcoming or self-obsessed.

One of the other enjoyable elements of this album is the creative use of variety. The group's signature sound remains intact throughout, yet they do manage to throw a few spanners (gently) into the works, such as the dueling male/female vocals on Clouds, Oh No's feedback-driven roughness and the more textured experimental styles of the record's unofficial 11-minute epic closer Just An Idea. The band are still at their best, however, when they craft their melodic compositions neatly around frontman Max Doyle's controlled and uncomplicated lyrics. This comes packaged in a variety of forms - the addictive confrontational chorus of Different Light, the dream pop style of Something To Believe In and the "let's get blunted on a Sunday afternoon" gentleness of Pain - yet the group's up-tempo natural flow remains the centrepiece.

This record doesn't stomp it's feet too loudly, nor does it attempt to grab your attention with the assistance of the usual music trickery. It's completely unassuming, unpretentious and uncomplicated. This alone separates it from the vast amount of vomit that the Sydney music scene spews up on a weekly basis. The fact it comes with a bunch of genuinely entertaining and catchy rock songs is just the icing on the cake.

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