(Mom + Pop)
Even those who stand completely still at concerts will find themselves tempted to groove along to Poliça’s Shulamith. The drums, synths, and vocals are so compelling, the audience is left with no choice but to listen to the album from beginning to end. When singer Channy Leaneagh writes she says, “It’s all about moving to the beat.” When band’s producer, Ryan Olson, plays something, Leaneagh writes according to whatever rhythm and mood she gets from his music. This explains the flawless blend of vocals and instrumentals that provoke the urge to move.
Not only is Shulamith danceable and seamlessly constructed, Leaneagh’s lyrics are stronger and bolder than those in Give You The Ghost, Poliça’s first record. Named after Shulamith Firestone, a feminist writer crucial to the formation of early radical feminism, the album is full of feminist themes. In an interview for NME, Leaneagh says that, although the album shares the name with Firestone and touches on similar ideas, she is “not making any grand statements” regarding that connection.
One of the more explicit examples of feminism is in the first track, “Chain My Name.” According to Leaneagh the song is “anti-marriage,” and is about finding happiness in freedom after her divorce. It is partially about the loss of identity in marriage, specifically through changing one’s name.
In the disturbingly powerful music video for “Tiff (feat. Justin Vernon)", Channy Leaneagh acts as two opposing characters. One is torturing the other, a physical depiction of how damaging it is to beat yourself up emotionally. Justin Vernon’s echo-y vocals add an intriguing layer of depth to the already gripping track. He was not originally intended to be on Shulamith, which was recorded at the studio in his house, but Leaneagh told NME that, “He was just around ... so he just came downstairs and sang on it.”
Poliça is scheduled to perform at Mill City Nights on November 29th and 30th, a show that would be quite a shame to miss, considering how energetic and impressive the band is live. Drummers Drew Christopherson and Ben Ivascu are spectacular to watch, bassist and vocalist Chris Bierden’s passion is obvious, and Channy Leaneagh’s dancing is nothing if not contagious. If you're intrigued, check out some awesome photos from the band’s visit to the Radio K studio in 2011 and listen to "Chain My Name" below. Shulamith is overall an incredible album, proof that Poliça is here to stay, and an achievement that simply can't be ignored.