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[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

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 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

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 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Polysics
Neu
Asian Man Records

Rating: 8/10 ?


October 1, 2004
I am often first to admit that I have grown plump and content with the standard indulgences of indie rock/pop and, - not unlike Rob Gordon and company from High Fidelity - I am also quite comfortable with my self inflicted esoteric stasis. So with my critical faculties in high gear and my tin foil hat firmly in place I gave Neu a good listen.

The term 'new wave' is not one that I am particularly fond of, and I don't toss it around lightly - it may just be too postmodern for me. When exactly does 'new wave' start being old wave, or at least the same wave? I am quite sure the genre has been around for a while now, and maybe I just don't like the sound of it. So jokes aside, in addition to being pretty daft and fussy over terminology semantics I have been finding these Polysics characters entirely fascinating and accordingly I am fairly unsure about how to file them away in my collection.

With that in mind, I must say that it is always nice to hear a new band that wholly defies instant categorization; correspondingly I am not going to encumber this review with references to bands that the Polysics "recall" and allude to, as I believe this album resounds clearly on its own. The Polysics carry a furious energy throughout the entire disc and you really can't help but smile and thrash about while listening to it. With pseudo-punk ambiance, interjected blips and bleeps as well as an off-kilter urge, these Japanese noise-pop insurgents are at the top of their game.

The impetuous intro of "Go Ahead Now" kicks off the disc with a nut-busting buildup that quickly cumulates in all out rock. Amazingly the Polysics can shift song dynamics downward with little effort and still maintain forward momentum. Testament to this is the beat driven intro of "Making Sense" as it builds up to a crescendo of boisterous pop goodness that is offset by darker vocal tones.

Song dynamics that bounce loftily and soaring vocal counterpoints inform the bulk of Neu and the short interludes inject bits of relief into the structure. The Polysics brand of jittery, franticly fragmented rock makes for an astounding listen and the lyrical aspects on this album reflect the musical ambitions of the band capably.

The Polysics are able remain relatively diverse throughout the 14 tracks of Neu, with standout tracks such as "Black Out Fall Out," "Plaster Caster," "What" and "MS-17" all containing distinctive attributes. The cacophonous "MS-17" presents an amalgam of jerky rhythms and an angular structure that takes the listener on a wildly caustic thrill ride. The closing track, "Black Out Fall Out," however, recalls female J-Pop vocals and draws on neo-pop sensibilities for a smashingly enjoyable abjuration call.

Neu frequently comes off as downright riotous and, alas, may very well be marginalized and found accessible to only indie art-punk adherents. Like generalizations placed upon contemporary artists like Pavet Althamar and Doug Aitken, it may seem that the Polysics are difficult to recommend - that their sound is not for everyone. But I for one hope that word of mouth will be able to drag this band further into the limelight as inventive and vigorous. For those who thrive with innovative and practically crazy stimuli the Polysics (indeed quite contrary to what The Stranglers and their literary references say) can be your new found heroes!

The Polysics succeed in pushing the established genre boundaries fabulously and exhausting my considerable repertoire of synonyms for 'rambunctious'. After listening to this disc you tend to reject notions of trying to intellectualize it - when you cease to think about it and just listen, the Polysics are plain good fun.

Reviewed by Abi Huynh
A contributing writer based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Abi Huynh enjoys film and music that most people criminally ignore.

See other reviews by Abi Huynh

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