You have to admit, numbers in bands is something that piques an interest. Death From Above or Muse for example are such pique worthy bands and you begin wondering how they make the rock music they do.
And then there’s bands like Slipknot, with nine blokes in it. That’s mental, man. First of all, not only are you a metal band and not going to make much money anyway, how do you hope to live on the little you make if you have to split it nine ways? And even after your drummer left, you went out and found a new drummer, even though you have two percussionists already in the band who spend half their time walking around the stage during live shows. It’s absolutely mental.
Sydney’s own Polish Club are tearing it up two piece style. Their solid, punk inspired riffs rock and their mature songwriting is something so many rock bands fail to grasp.
Sorry, that point had to be made. Anyway, this Sydney-based band Polish Club, has only two blokes in it – Novak and Pajak (and from what I know, that’s pronounced “Paa-yak”). So they’re in the good half of odd-numbered bands. From what I can hear, and I could possibly be wrong, one’s a drummer and the other’s a guitarist.
In most bands, the bass player mimics the rhythm guitar and doesn’t stray much from the official line. Also for a lot of rock bands, usually having two guitarists is irrelevant when it’s not time to do the solo – for the majority of the song they’re playing from the same tab. Other than the novelty, what makes small bands cool, is their lack of members and instruments generally makes their music more interesting – and as I said before, makes you wonder how they go about performing.
So, off the bat, there’s intrigue. Garage rock, with punk inflections, seems to be the order of the day for this Sydney duo. Their audial produce also seems to arrive with a heavy dose of sunken vocals which is pretty du jour, but I guess it’s understandable if you wanna make grimy, gritty music.
Coarse and honest are not attributes I’d usually associate with garage rock, which is odd, but garage rock for me equals The White Stripes, who I think are one of the biggest loads of toss going around, and also because the genre’s also getting a lot of hipster love at the moment too. (That’s not because I dislike hipsters, it’s because hipsters usually make shit music) Proving me foolish, what Polish Club have come out with resembles the jiving riffing of the likes of (early) Kings of Leon, Queens of the Stone Age and Dire Straits. There’s something about a good riff that makes its timeless, and Polish Club at times graze in the gentle plains of this rocking nirvana.
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The band list their influences – perhaps comically – as “Taking cues from Otis Redding to Mariah Carey”. Now, I haven’t listened to much Mariah so I could be mistaken, but Polish Club doesn’t seem to incorporate much camel-committee pop. The boys sound refined without being overtly mimicking, so there’s a chance that their garage rock output is the convergence of a wide range of influences.
What I mean by the ‘overtly mimicking’ part, is usually what happens is that a young band or musician goes “I want to make music because of [established artist]!” and then imitate them – so think perhaps of Papa vs Pretty and early Radiohead. Although arguably every artist steals from other artists, the better bands seem to be smoother about it and make something new of it. Polish Club encouragingly sounds like they’re headed in the latter direction.
Speaking of encouragement, they played their first show at the Oxford Art Factory last week, and have received a few rave reviews from Triple J’s Zan Rowe and Lewis McKirdy. This band may have just started, but that direction I was talking about just before seems to be going the way of a NASA space launch – vertical.
For Did Somebody Tell Me Rowe simply reviewed this as “Another straight up winner”. I guess she reviewed another song first. This short, simple song at 2:17 – actually none of Polish Club’s songs are longer than 3 minutes – shoots off with a bubbly riff, and we hear the chorus about 28 seconds in. I told you this band was no nonsense. There’s really not much else too it, but that’s because this band is the embodiment of concise. Two members. Two minute songs. Too easy
Like above, I’m going to quote a review of Able and nick it actually. Lachie Macara said it has a “Real great mix of soulfulness and raucousness”, and despite not correctly suffixing his adverb, I think he’s on the money. Able is punky and thickly-riffed, yet much slower and emotional this time – hence its ‘soulfulness’. Despite the possibility of slowing down exposing songwriting frailties that their normal speed bandages over, Able is probably the best of their three songs so far.
I mentioned Kings of Leon before, and it’s basically down to Show You Love. I’m afraid it really might be down to ‘ooh-oh-oh’ and the ‘ooh-ohh’ that Caleb Followill is fond of (and to be fair, those ooohs sound better than most of his lyrics), but to be fair it shares familiarities with early KoL’s penchant for landing on a good riff and sticking with. Show You Love is a blistering 94 seconds long, and to be totally honest, consists of the lyrics “I wanna show you love”, the aforementioned oohs, and the same four rocking bars. As if with everything else though, it works.
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