Polish Club

Universal, 2019


REVIEW BY: Mark Millan


Aussie rock duo Polish Club formed in Sydney in 2014 by David Novak on guitar and vocals and John Henry-Pajak on drums. Since their formation, the pair has gigged frequently and formed a reputation as one of the best live bands getting around the local circuits. They are occasionally joined on the road by bassist Wade Keighran. The lads’ first three releases consist of two EPs, Polish Club in 2015 and Okie Dokie in 2017, and their debut full length album Alright Already also came along in 2017. Alright Already is a fun power-pop record powered by Novak’s gruff lead vocals and Henry-Pajak’s fantastically hard-hitting but rhythmic drumming style.

That 14-track album has a sense of a band still finding their feet, with no track exceeding three and a half minutes. However, it did earn the guys an ARIA Award (Australian Recording Industry Association) nomination for Best Rock Album for 2017. In June last year, the pair released their second studio album my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Iguana, which I first discovered through a mate who strongly recommended I check it out. I did just that and am pleased to say I’m glad I did. Iguana has taken off from where Alright Already left off. The songs feel more developed and the sonically the guys have expanded their horizons employing a few more tricks to spice up their sound.

The album kicks off with the anthemic first single “We Don’t Care,” which features some heavy distortion on the lead guitar and Novak’s killer delivery. It is immediately followed by the title track that is stripped-down for the verses then goes all out for the massive choruses. Novak stated that in an effort to get away from the “two-piece” sound on this track, he had stacked about seven guitar tracks by the end of the song. It worked well as you still get that tight groove throughout, but on a much bigger scale.

The first single off the record actually dropped in 2018 and is among the strongest cuts to be found here. There’s a lot of space in the air around this one with some great echo on the chorus vocals and deeper bottom end. The third and last single lifted from the album was “Breakapart,” on which Henry-Pajak employs an ‘80s style soft snare to compliment the toned-down guitar tracks. It isn’t as strong as other songs on the record and worked much better when the guys re-cut it as an acoustic ballad later on.

There’s no quality drop off, though, as deep into the album we get some killer funked-up rock with “Let’s Pretend” and another distorted jam “Moonlighting.” There’s a gorgeous acoustic/electro ballad “As Low As It Goes” and the killer “Time Crisis,” on which over a choppy experimental track Novak fights his inner demons: “I'm not fucked in the head / Calm down, say it's over / One of these days, I'll be back together /One of these days in time.” This is typical of the lyrical nature on the album where personal demons, broken relationships (“Let’s Pretend”), negative vices, and the good and bad of night life (”Iguana”) are all topics explored in an almost confessional style by Novak’s soulful deliveries.

Iguana is one of the strongest rock albums I have discovered over the last decade and I can’t wait to hear what Polish Club will come up with next.

Rating: A-

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