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Album Review: Hermitude – Pollyanarchy

25 September 2019 | 4:02 pm | James d'Apice

"We’re amped up, amped down, and amped all around."

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It’s so easy to forget what the heart of Hermitude’s world-beating, genre-jumping body of work is. It’s not the Australian rap roots. It’s not the surprisingly massive guests they’re able to nab (Vic Mensa?!). It’s their command of drama – giving us what we want, but only after teasing us first.

Stupid World’s shining presence isn’t the Bibi Bourelly performance, despite her staccato stabs and crazy lines. It takes some serious confidence – and self-awareness – to brag that the bridges one burns light one’s way. No, the drama is the swell and the fade of the instrumental, the 'blink and you’ll miss it' percussive heartbeat. This is a painting whose star is its canvas. Balafono is even more of a rhythmic adventure. We’re amped up, amped down, and amped all around. And closer Glorious somehow combines a triumphant victory march with a funeral dirge. Victory and loss at once? Now that’s drama.

To say a piece of work “meets expectations” is so often to damn with faint praise, as if there has been a failure of ambition, a resting on laurels. Pollyanarchy delivers on precisely what we expect from Hermitude and is all the more noteworthy – and dramatic – for it.