Memphis Industries (label)
27 January 2020 (released)
27 January 2020
Recuperation can inadvertently provide inspiration as immobility of the physical self can invariably (re)invigorate the mental selves. Who we perceive ourselves to be (and could be) can be shattered and confronted through enforced self-reflection and eventual self-actualisation.
When Poliça’s Channy Leaneagh fell off a roof in 2018 injuring her spine rendering her incapacitated she set about recalibrating the events and how she was/would recall/remember them. A rememorising of that incident and previous events of trauma proved to be a helpful healing exercise to banish, vanquish and dance the bruise(s) away.
This fourth Poliça album, the sanguinely titled ‘When we stay alive’ (the album’s cover explicitly depicts the forcing open of a mouth for resuscitation) is an account of that process. Featuring a cast of many (including co-founder and producer Ryan Olson who along with Bon Iver comprise the ‘supergroup’ Gayngs, whose ‘Related’ album from 2010 is an overlooked classic) the album is a blend of file-shared idea-swapping and a hybrid of live and electronic instrumentation.
Some songs that had been written prior to the accident blend seamlessly in(to) a coalesced whole with the post-composed which suggests an unconscious thread that had been latent, lurking and waiting for an exit strategy (albeit a drastic one).
Throughout Leaneagh’s vocals barely rise above a whispered ambience, words are hushed out, a spectral effect giving one of an ethereal, submerged ‘other’ striving for an audience with the surrounding sounds in keeping with the group’s now established warped and wefting electronica.
Ghosts old and new permeate the tracks: ‘Driving’ is the result of a bed-bound, trapped mind, with visions of activity and movement at odds with physical inability. ‘Forget me now’ is the tale of a disintegrated union.
Standout ‘Fold Up’ is an electro-trip-hop pulse-shaking groover. ‘Little threads’ is like a less ‘oh-woe-is-me-studied-gloom-by-numbers’ The XX, an account of the binding ties that tend to fray.
A physical reassembling, psychic realigning and an exorcising reassessing that reaps dividends.