LIVE: Polica @ Village Underground

Synthpop outfit Polica eventually warm up London showcasing their wares from electric new album ‘When We Stay Alive’
Posted: 17 February 2020 Words: Nick Beaver
It’s cold outside. It’s even colder inside the venue, Village Underground. The place appears to be part church, part warehouse, an unusual concoction one would almost come to expect in trendy Shoreditch. Condensation rises to the vaulted ceiling far above, the crowd below warming up in anticipation of tonight’s headliners Polica showcasing their return to electric form following the release of their new album When We Stay Alive.

Support act Warm Digits kick start the night's events. Having battled through the best Storm Ciara could throw at them while travelling from Glasgow, it’s no surprise the instrumental duo want to get into it from the off. With a backdrop of projected colourful graphics and looping guitars, it soon becomes clear that the drums are undoubtedly the star of the show. They are songs comprised of many parts and details. Drummer Andrew makes sure to utilise every facet of his drum kit, creating sounds as if he was more of a mathematician than a musician. Fortunately, the pair have got their formula exactly right.

Listen to Polica’s distinctive form of synth-pop and their ability to create an atmosphere is like no other. It’s curious, that the band's start to proceedings is so low key. Fortunately, the intensity is dialled up to the degree hoped for with ‘Driving’, complete with tones fit for the band’s ever-present Halloween aura.

Though ‘Steady’ and ‘Blood Moon’ frustratingly plod along, matters are far improved upon the arrival of ‘Feel Life’. Sometimes it may feel and sound as if the band produce noise merely for the sake of it but not with this. The music feels more refined. There isn’t so much going on. As a result, each component has room to breathe and the live experience is that much better for it. The good times keep rolling with ‘Forget Me Now’. There’s a real juxtaposition between Channy Leaneagh allowing her vocals and showmanship the rare (and hugely fruitful) occasion of stretching as she sings about betrayal and deceit, and us happily chanting along none the wiser about the probable hurt the creation has been borne from. Alas, the song is a belter and the four-piece do it justice. The warm applause confirms this. ’Trash In Bed’ has the dubstep beats the finest of London’s nightclubs would welcome with open arms and has the audience dutifully bopping along as a result. The set is brought to an end with ‘Wandering Star’ that’s nothing short of beautiful. It’s still freezing outside. Though it took some time, we’ve been warmed by Polica’s ice-cold cool.

Photo credit: Arianna Cavalensi

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