A great surprise.
Having witnessed a Polar Bear Club live performance first hand, courtesy of the Soundwave tour, one can safely say that the group are more than proficient at translating their brilliantly recorded punk rock into a live format. Now, it appears that they are also capable of creating excellent acoustic versions of the songs we know and love, according to their new live release ‘Live At The Montage.’
While, the group tackle tracks from all of their records in this performance (including some covers), it is the songs off their latest studio record, ‘Clash Battle Guilt Pride’ which translate the best. This is possibly due to the experienced sense of song-writing that the tracks from that album convey.
The band incorporate plenty of handclaps for their original take on Saves The Day’s At Your Funeral and offer a mellowed out, fairly down-the-line version of The Weakerthans' Left And Leaving. Opening track, Burned Out In A Jar will carry the heaviest surprise for fans before they get used to the slowed down pace of the album. The track is usually driven by pounding punk rock drums but here it's stripped back into an acoustic format.
A stand out moment is Slow Roam, in which Polar Bear Club use the power of their vocals (not usually a strong part of their artillery) to really drive home the fact that they can be diverse in their genre when they desire. The best part of the record though are the heavy moments, which doesn't need to be delved into too much. Details such as the enjoyment of this record comes in the form of its little surprises, which you would assume was the whole point of this performance - to show that Polar Bear Club are not necessarily as down the line as people may have thought.
Let it also be noted that there is a different version of the release, which contains a few extra tracks for those who feel that the relatively short length of this set is not enough.
‘Live At The Montage’ is an absolute must for Polar Bear Club fans, no question. However, it is also something worth checking out for those who feel they have seen what the band had to offer and didn’t really dig it. There may just be a bit more under the surface than many would think.