Polak – Rubbernecking

Album Review by Adam Foster

There was a touching moment at a recent awards ceremony when Echo & The Bunnymen publicly thanked Coldplay for their support. The reason for this may now be obvious: Polak’s RUBBERNECKING seems to be the bastard offspring of these two musical superpowers.

This is a good album, and its obvious stylistic borrowings do not greatly diminish its strengths. At its best, it is mesmeric – see SIGN, DUMBSTRUCK, and PAYBACK – and there are moments when it combines compelling guitar-based build with driving melodies.

Overall, though, the problems with the album are exemplified by the first track (DON’T WAKE ME). It builds well, promises much, but never reaches the crescendo it seems to require. Before you know it, you are 3mins30 into the song with no sign of a climax: tantric music. It is tantalising, pleasant, but rarely fulfilling.

However, there is only one serious ‘faux pas’ on the album. This is the ‘hidden track’. These are annoying enough when placed at the end of the CD: in this case, it falls between PAYBACK and the title track. It is by far the worst song here – lyrically, vocally and musically ham-fisted – and is irksome in the extreme in this relatively luxuriant company. For future reference, best to skip track nine.

Still, if you remove LOVE’S GOT HOLD OF MY HEART (or whatever the hidden track is called), this album offers a lot. With each play, you discover further depths; and with each play, the ghosts of Chris Martin and Ian McCulloch mercifully recede. Worth persevering with.

4 stars

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