Thursday, September 24, 2009

Review: Polar Bear Club, "Chasing Hamburg"

Polar Bear Club
"Chasing Hamburg"

At this point in their career, Polar Bear Club probably hates being compared to Hot Water Music and Small Brown Bike. In fact, other than singer Jimmy Stadt’s gruff vocals, the upstart band shares little else with those other bands. I would liken Polar Bear Club more to Seattle’s defunct Waxwing, the post-hardcore slash emo band fronted by Rocky Votolato and flanked by guys who would go on to form Blood Brothers and Gatsby’s American Dream. With that comparison in mind, it’s pretty much a no brainer that PBC would recruit former Minus the Bear keyboard player and renowned knob twister Matt Bayles to production for their second full-length, first for Bridge Nine, “Chasing Hamburg.”

Lyrically, what I enjoy about all of the band’s recordings, and it’s something that is very apparent on “Hamburg,” is how transparent the words are. The topics on this particular record reflect that of a growing band, which is what Polar Bear Club is.

In “Boxes,” Stadt sings “You don’t have to be an asshole to be an artist.” A similar criticism is explored on “Song to Persona,” where Stadt mulls over the schism between a band, their music and the people who love them. As far as the music itself goes, it’s a natural progression from their last album, “Sometimes Things Just Disappear.” My biggest misconception about the album, based on the teaser 7” “The Summer of George,” was that the band was going to be poppier. But it’s quite the opposite. There are harder parts across the album and Stadt sings much better.

Having just got off a support tour with Set Your Goals and Four Year Strong and an upcoming tour with Crime in Stereo and Strike Anywhere, Polar Bear Club is definitely going to be a band to watch in the coming months and the proof is all over “Chasing Hamburg”

Recommendation: Buy it

Listen to: “Boxes,” “Chasing Hamburg,” “Drifting Thing”

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