POLIÇA return with their second album ‘Shulamith’, the follow up to 2012’s universally acclaimed breakthrough debut ‘Give You The Ghost’, set to be released 21st October on Memphis Industries.
First, a little recap. Founded by vocalist Channy Leaneagh and producer Ryan Olson out of the ashes of Minneapolis collective Gayngs, and featuring Drew Christopherson, and Ben Ivascu on drums and Chris Bierden on bass, POLIÇA’s ‘Give You The Ghost’ was released in April of last year. Seemingly from nowhere it became one of 2012’s standout debut albums. They made their UK live debut in June 2012, with two packed nights at the tiny CAMP Basement in London, and less than a year later, March 2013 saw the band play a triumphant show to a sold out Shepherds Bush Empire.
With US TV performances on Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel plus their UK TV debut on Later with Jools Holland under their belt, and having toured all four corners of the globe, including appearances at Coachella, Latitude, SXSW, the xx’s Night + Day event, the band found time in late 2012 to forge ahead with recording their second album.
Born then, out of a tumultuous, head spinning 18 months, the album is named in homage to pioneering feminist activist and thinker Shulamith Firestone. Channy explains:
“Her ideas and written word are hugely important to me and she is my muse and my mentor from the grave. I want people to know about her. Also Shulamith means peace and that is a good word for any band to put above their door for a few years.”
Musically, ‘Shulamith’ demonstrates an increased mastery and extension of the unique sonic palette that POLIÇA mined on their debut album. The recording process was naturally a more collaborative process than their debut, with the band reacting to and working off Olsen’s beats, drawing on elements of R&B, electronica and dub to create a sound that, already, this early in their career, is uniquely and identifiably their own. Leaneagh’s continued exploration of, and increased control over the effects processor to manipulate and enhance her already outstanding voice take her vocals to new and unusual heights.
‘Tiff’ was the first track to see light of day, in April of this year, and coupled with a startlingly intense video, it sets the tone for an album an where unflinching emotional, sometimes violent, sharp-eyed lyrical self-exploration is articulated via enticingly brooding R&B inflicted electronic pop.
From the flurry of warped metallic electronica and razor-sharp groove of opener ‘Chain My Name’ with it’s stark and rushing refrain, the angular R&B-pop futurism of ‘I Need $’, its sweetly earworm hook belying lyrics of alternately helplessness and defiance, to the gliding, birds-eye meditation of closer ‘So Leave’, ‘Shulamith’ reaffirms POLIÇA as one of the most fascinating and vital groups in forward-thinking pop.
Ultimately, Channy succinctly sums up the ideas and themes behind ‘Shulamith’, and POLIÇA as follows:“Drums. Bass. Synths. Me, Women”.