Nacional Records, Spain
By Jean-Stephane Beriot
Retro synthetic rock is the new genre for any rolling-skate purpose; Phoenix’s Wolfgang Amadeus finally sewed up the scars left by Blink 182’s Take Off Your Pants and Jacket, allowing for the much more comforting pop sound to blossom. Not to say Phoenix is the new hip band for skaters, they’re just putting the soundtrack to today’s rolling canvas. Comparing a new band to a consolidated one is the oldest cliché in music journalism, but it’s almost inevitable not to do it sometimes, the relationship (direct or indirect) between Phoenix and Spain’s Polock is extraordinary, mostly because you can tell the similarities and differences right away, big props to Polock for accomplishing that on their very first album. I could go on in detail about the whole European global-pop-strike, but Polock’s album deserves better, it’s pretty good.
Getting Down From The Trees is the kind of album that sticks to the plan; it relies on lyrical and instrumental skill, striking to become something bigger than it is, but accomplishing a better than average product with enough catchy moments to consider it a victorious debut. A chromatic record, you’ll be seeing all colors in virtually every song. Album opener “High on Life” upfronts the band’s premise of a synthesized version of ‘rock your life’ as a form of escapism. Polock’s attempt to coordinate adventures to a soundtrack is interesting; they seem to realize they’re seeking for larger-than-life highs and in fact, their music floats around with ease, yet the themes stick down in the ground. “Fireworks” celebrates a generation rushing through life, “this life’s new great movement”, the song is an invitation to step back a little and enjoy some fireworks, “take it easy now, ‘cause my rules have come… take it easy now, we could change our lives.”
Like Delorean or Furland, Polock has the guts to shoot for the stars, but unlike the other bands, they don’t search for stability, they jump and come back to surface with tremendous aptitude. “Nightshot” is the coolest call-for-peace song of the year; it doesn’t spit in your face at any moment and spells out its message through some great catchy synths and drums. The catchiest track in the album “Tangerines & Unicorns” flows like a great Todd Haynes movie (a trip to volatility), except less weird; “Well sometimes there is no time to climb to the stars.” Some of the tracks are quite hard to understand and some suffer from an excess of showmanship, yet Getting Down From The Trees is an impressive debut, heck, way better than Phoenix’s first two records combined.