REVIEW album Old Subbacultcha Old Subbacultcha

Only Two Years In, Polar Circles Are Under The Influence

Old Subbacultcha

Old Subbacultcha

Polar Circles, a Swiss four-piece rock band based in Lausanne, release their debut self-titled album only two years after forming. Jammed full of recognizable influences the EP is an interesting mix of the boys’ personal listening interests, enhanced by their musical education.

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POLAR CIRCLES is out now on Irascible Media. POLAR CIRCLES is out now on Irascible Media.[/caption]

Vocalist Ian and guitarist Stefan formed the group in early 2012, and the other two boys, bassist Jules and LA drummer Keryan joined not long after, bringing a thicker sound to the band, as the French press-release states, bringing ‘du groove’ to the group.

Jazz trained, the boys clearly have a proficient handle of music, they masterfully play their instruments, controlling the sound, closing and opening the rock valve at the right moments. Their excellent guitar solos are evidence of this; fingers dancing along the guitar neck for not too long, fitting perfectly into each track. This talent and training combined with their clear love of every corner of rock have heavily influenced the sound of this record.

Straddling the Foo Fighters, the Kings of Leon, perhaps adding in some Arctic Monkeys-esque vocals too, the boys have ended up with an album very reminiscent of many successful and talented rock groups. The band they most heavily resemble is The Black Keys, in fact perhaps a bit too closely. For me there isn’t a very distinct identity in their style, they’re crossing too many boundaries, they seem to be trying to cruise many different styles so that it feels like something we’ve heard before, just repackaged in a different way.

The boys make good music, I really enjoyed listening, but about 3 songs in, you are ready for a change.  The rock becomes a bit relentless and we need something different to the formula the album follows. Then, perfectly placed, we get ‘Feelings’. A ballad-esque track, like a rocky version of The XX’s signature floating sound its a gentler number that sits nicely in the rock sandwich.

Here we hear a different tone in Ian’s beautiful voice, something weathered and more pained, words dancing through the slow drums and decelerated guitar. Here the lyrics shift from frustration or anger to melancholy. The melodies ski-slope into another cracking guitar solo and then a crescendo into the dramatic closing chorus. The group’s choruses are both well constructed and well performed on this EP, they’re catchy and memorable.

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POLAR CIRCLES; Ian, Stefan,  Jules and Keryan. POLAR CIRCLES; Ian, Stefan, Jules and Keryan.[/caption]

Each song as a stand alone is excellent, I’m really a big fan of most tracks individually, but listening to the album as a whole from start to finish I did grow a bit tired of it. Polar Circles is clearly a young band, still pooling all their influences into their music, learning how to create an album as well as perform and write music. As they grow as musicians they’ll be in a better place to develop a journey and variety through each album. As a result of the recording and performance process of this album they can consolidate the individuality of their style, learn to use their music to enhance the journey of each album, and continue churning out great music.

Visit the Polar Circles website
click here. Twitter - @Polarcircles1 Album streaming and download available from the group's
Bandcamp and
iTunes. Words by Graeme du Plessis