Review: Poliça – Give You The Ghost

POLICA
Need more awesome? Listen to our FAVORITE SONGS OF 2014. Make sure you don't miss any tunes: FOLLOW US ON TWITTER.

A- | 02.14.12 | TGNP | MP3 | CD | VINYL

Auto-tune may have just hit its inflection point. No longer just a crutch for weak voices or a way to extend the shelf life of overripe singers, the pitch-shifting technology has spent the last couple years becoming respectable. Since Jay-Z declared auto-tune’s hip hop death in 2009, artists have found deft ways to keep it alive and thriving. On Poliça’s debut album, Give You The Ghost, it takes the next step, playing a crucial role in constructing a band’s sound without casting doubt on the ensemble’s natural talents.

Channy Leaneagh, whose airy voice teeters on the edge of delicate, is responsible for the auto-tune’s graceful employment. Slight tweaks give her already impressive voice laser-guided precision and nearly instantaneous modulation, allowing it to control the tracks of Give You The Ghost despite frequently submerging below the album’s instrumentals. Her vocals take on a depth and range, often multi-tracked and reverbed, that allow it to move from sultry to poignant to insistent with the literal push of a button.

Leaneagh’s fellow Gayngs-banger Ryan Olson co-wrote and produced the album, and his experience with this multi-layered and affected sounds shows in his impeccable sense of when to push and when to pull. In inexperienced hands, auto-tune is a clunky tool used to fix mistakes. Here, under Olson’s guidance, it’s the cherry on top.

Though Olson and Leaneagh have played together before, Give You The Ghost is far from a Gayngs bi-product. Its genesis lies instead in the downfall of Minnesota band Roma Di Luna, which Leaneagh co-founded with then-husband Alexei Casselle. After their marriage – and the band – met its end, Leaneagh hit the notebooks and cranked out the basis of the album in under a month. Give You The Ghost is a record of slow heartbreak, slow rebuilding, and everything that happens in between the two. It’s an attempt to answer to the question posed on “Form,” the album’s fifth track: “What’s the storyline of unraveling?”

“I don’t need you, I don’t need anyone/Come back,” sings Leaneagh on the album’s opening track, “Amongster,” snapshotting the troublesome independence/reliance dichotomy. On “Form,” she captures the impossibility of placing blame: “I’m the victim, I did it.” Perhaps the most touching example comes on standout single “Wandering Star,” where Leaneagh sings “It makes me sad ‘cause you’re gone/And I hear you whisper something sweet/But it doesn’t move any nerves in me.”

Poliça knows something about moving. Give You The Ghost is a potent mix of double-drum heartbeats and agile melodies, and it strikes both emotional and visceral nerves. The album’s layered and heavily-affected opening vocals, which resemble musical cousin Bon Iver, signal a heavy-handed onslaught that never comes. Instead, the songs subtly moves from place to place – auto-tune quickly becoming a familiar element, subject matter slowly revealing itself. It’s a fascinating and developed debut. “I See My Mother” evokes loop-masters Menomena, while songs like “Fist, Teeth, Money” recall the ethereal songs of Warpaint. And throughout it all, Poliça establishes itself – a band born from others but completely of itself.

“Oh what a web I have woven myself in,” sings Leaneagh on “I See My Mother.” Consider me caught.


What did you think?
 75  20  1  3
artworks-000085917223-yql0o4-t500x500
Remixes

Hear the ten-minute-long reimagining of the Mala cut

READ MORE
avatars-000089002206-mf7s3x-t500x5001
Remixes

Hear the Seattle-based producer’s take on Ware’s latest single

READ MORE
Chrome Sparks
Feature

Having released one of the more enjoyable EPs of the year, Chrome Sparks knows a…

READ MORE
SBTRKT Wonder Where We Land
News

Check out a star-studded tracklist and teaser video.

READ MORE
d00f4549
News

The film, which also stars Dakota Fanning, is in theaters on July 25th

READ MORE
artworks-000085158666-l0uhht-t500x500
Music

Hear the latest single from the electronic music producer

READ MORE
tops picture you staring
Music

Hear our first taste of the Montreal band’s upcoming second album, Picture You Staring.

READ MORE
Tame Impala Live Versions
Music

Stream the band’s Record Store Day contribution.

READ MORE
bloc party keel
Music

His first since 2010′s The Boxer.

READ MORE