[sic] Magazine

Poliça – Give You The Ghost

Contemporary and noteworthy R&B comes in roughly three forms. First there is the inventive, sample-happy smoothness of budget producers-cum-miracle-workers like The Weeknd who offer a genuinely refreshing take on the brain-dead pap that schmoozes its way out of most radios daily. Next there is the windblown wanting of bedroom-bound wunderkinds like Guerre , Top Girls and, of course, How To Dress Well who all seem to have found the misplaced soul of the much-maligned genre.

Finally, now comprising Poliça , we have the fluid Minneapolis member-base that is rewriting the rule book on the use of auto-tune and soft-focus instrumentation. Their debut LP Give You The Ghost seems to initially trace its roots back to Bon Iver ‘s breakout a capella “Woods” and then through the pioneering work of the 25-strong soft rockin’ outfit Gayngs that culminated with the release of their impressive 2010 album Relayted (on which Justin Vernon himself turned in a Bone Thugs-n-Harmony double-take). Backbone of the Gayngs collective, Ryan Olson understandably liked their direction and enlisted fellow subscriber Mike Noyce (equally of the Bon Iver band), as well as bit-part Gayngs vocalist Channy Leanagh (then Moon-Caselle) for the Twin City shakers’ next step – upping all their gayme if you will as Poliça.

Using heavily auto-tuned manipulation and echo-looping of Leanagh’s eerie voice, Give You The Ghost thus quite quickly becomes a showcase for the striking use of the tool as an effect rather than a form of compensation. More pleasing still is that the album’s deluxe bedding for this weapon is equally becoming – cue a rich palette of ticking, chattering instrumentation under which the band’s two drummers ( Ben Ivascu and Drew Christopherson ) exercise their skins eagerly.

Maximising the potential of their dual drumming options and finding a truly original niche as it goes is the no-holds-barred blowout of the stunning and urgent “Violent Games” on which an ever-intensifying Leanagh gets multi-tracked to death amid frayed synth FX. The smooth and equally impressive “Dark Star” later comes replete with an irresistible beat behind that mesmeric vocal – its funky sax in turn carrying an infectious vibe into the sultry slow-jam “Fist, Teeth, Money”.

It may be a touch optimistic to tar the fizzy opener “Amongster” as pop, but this drifting slice of echoing auto-tune and high-tempo percussion nevertheless plays in the same neighbourhood until a muscular, post-something finale resolutely does away with the classification. The similarly attractive follow-on “I See My Mother” then successfully differentiates itself from the crowd with an array of appealing R&B arrangements.

Though perhaps less revelatory, and assisted almost immeasurably by svelte tracks like the droning daydream “Wandering Star”, the remainder of Give You The Ghost manages to tick over no less enjoyably – proof, perhaps, that despite an expansive contributor list, there’s a single-minded vision at work here that not only takes the breath away, but as the wonder is absorbed simply causes you to stand back and applaud.

Advised downloads: “Violent Games” and “Dark Star”.

~Give You The Ghost is released 23rd April 2012 on Memphis Industries .~

[sic] review: Gayngs – Relayted


Poliça @ soundcloud