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Album Review: Polar Bear Club - 'Death Chrous'

19 November 2013 | 11:25 pm | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

If PBC weren't only fashionable to you becasue of Stadt's harsh singing then you'll dig love this record.

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Polar Bear Club have always been a band that has stood out from the crowded room of pop-punk bands. Not only do they look like they just stepped off the set of Revenge of The Nerds, but they also have an almost post-hardcore twist to their signature sound.

From their humble beginnings on ‘ Sometimes Things Just Disappear’ to the incredible ‘Clash Battle Guilt & Pride’, the band has arguably been renowned for Jimmy Stadt’s gravelly and coarse vocals. Yet on the group’s latest release, ‘Death Chorus’, the vocals take the same route as many other pop-punk bands with a much cleaner and higher style. While this has divided fans early, now the album has finally dropped, listeners fears can be put at rest. This album is incredibly solid and well thought out.

Kicking off with ‘Blood Balloon’ and ‘Graph Paper Glory Days’, these two servings will give you the general idea and feel of the album, with a great, upbeat pop aesthetic mixed with a strong punk influence. ‘So I Buy’ and ‘For Show’ showcase splendid guitar melodies and epic bass lines that shake your eardrums from side to side. Seriously, more bands need to amp the bass guitar up, it sounds great and gives them a considered, “filled” effect.

The two minute ballad ‘Sixouse Jeanne’ is probably the biggest let down on 'Death Chorus'. It’s far too slow in comparison to the rest of the album. With the absence of drums or bass throughout, the song feels incomplete and just seems to dwindle off as slow as it came in. ‘WLWYCD (Why Live When You Can Die)’ is a quick redeemer however. Holy shit! The aforementioned is the full-length's peak. With a great intro that builds up to a groovy and riff filled chorus and verse, the song is a pop-punk kid’s wet dream.

The period from ‘Chicago Springs’ to ‘Twang’ are a collection of equally engaging tunes. Although lacking in a bit of that “edge” the band’s known for, the offerings are all competent works. Closer ‘ Upstate Mosquito’ is fairly stripped back and lengthy, adding a new layer. More diverse and expansive. It’s a fine closer for a more than fine album.

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However, the prevailing elephant in the room is the vocals. Don’t get your hopes up; there are no gravelly or rough vocals on here. Sorry, kids. But here’s the kicker: they’re still entertaining. Stadt's not lost the incredible passion and emotion that drew people to this band. You see every expression that Stadt pulls as he sings; you feel every emotion he’s feelings and it’s all because of his delivery. If the sole reason you like Polar Bear Club is for the diverse vocals then you really should address how you enjoy all other forms of music.

From pop-punk giant, lead single and opener, ‘Blood Balloon’ to the stripped back closer of ‘Upstate Mosquito’, this is an album you’ll regret missing. With more infectious hooks, riffs and bass lines than you can shake a drumstick at, ‘Death Chorus’ is an album that stays with you long after the last note has been struck. Prepare to be singing the choruses in to the wee hours of the morning. These songs grab you hook, line and sinker. 
So there’s only one question left to ask: When is the next Australian tour?

1. Blood Balloon

2. Graph Paper Glory Days

3. So I Buy

4. For Show

5. Siouxsie Jeanne


7. Chicago Springs

8. When We Were College Kids

9. Twang

10. Upstate Mosquito