Los Angeles Police Department

Los Angeles Police Department

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While the cordial indie pop that singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Ryan Pollie makes under the Los Angeles Police Department banner belies the project's authoritative name, his command of sleepy melodies and miniature orchestrations take a front seat on his sophomore LP. The Philadelphia native first appeared as L.A.P.D. in 2014 with a self-titled released on the Forged Artifacts label introducing a style the merged the half-whispered earnestness of Sufjan Stevens with the hazy soundscapes of the lo-fi bedroom pop scene. Deeply introverted, but warmly appealing, the album won Pollie a handful of new admirers, among which was vaunted L.A. indie label Anti-, who now offer this second volume of songs that again bears no album title. The anonymity and eponymy of L.A.P.D.'s presentation almost act as a shield against pre-judgment as the needle drops unassumingly on the dreamy Postal Service-meets-Brian Wilson opener "The Plane." The Casio facsimile of those classic staccato organ stabs feels like the sound of young California's lonesome inner world where the surf mythically roils miles away from the headphones of quiet bards who sing "I don't know how to feel when you're not quite as real." The hesitancy of Pollie's creaky tenor vocals matches the ambiguity of his lyrics as he spins tales of lost love, long drives, and self-doubt. A more robust experience than his first album, this effort features the sonic identifiers of producer Jonathan Rado, one-half of West Coast psych-pop outfit Foxygen. Under Rado's direction, Pollie's gentle pop balladry takes on a woozy tilt as if not quite prepared to shoulder the more ambitious arrangements placed upon them. When it works, though, the results yield weirdly enchanting standouts like the lush "Grown" and trippy "The Birds." Overall, Pollie presents a wistful and warm little microcosm that subtly builds on the foundation of his debut.

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