C'est la Vie

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Polara's full-length bow in major-label life starts out with one heck of a noisy bang on "Transformation" -- Ed Ackerson, in particular, sounds like he wants to get some major sneers out to compete with Liam Gallagher -- and with that the quartet makes a partially over-the-top but still enjoyable hour's worth of songs. Given that the band toured with Spiritualized a couple of years beforehand, it's not a total surprise that some numbers sound like an equivalent to songs like "Come Together" and the freakout section on "Medication." The blend of steady drone guitar and piano and semi-gospel moves on "Make It Easy" could almost be Jason Pierce in all but name. However, there's definitely a sense throughout that Ackerson's goal is to add some more direct sex and strut to that particular equation, not least because he's a much more clear and straightforward singer than Pierce. This has more than a little to do with how the songs are mixed -- no shoegazing for this crowd. It's also audible in the manic psych guitar soloing on any number of songs (check out "Light the Fuse and Run," "Idle Hands," and "Elasticity," which perhaps inadvertently calls Spiritualized's "Electricity" to mind, even if the pace is much slower). That said, the Smashing Pumpkins circa Mellon Collie & the Infinite Sadness could also provide a role model -- thus the strings on "So Sue Me" and the regular epic/metal tinge of the whole record -- while more than once there's a hint of Polara's hometown hero, Prince, as well (check out the keyboards on "Pantomime"). Credit for a slightly unexpected song subject in "Quebecois," even if the word is more used for its sonic quality than for any political axe to grind, separatist or otherwise, while the semi-techno instrumental bonus track is actually a fun, sometimes dreamy little experiment.

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