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Album Review

Living in Patterns by Pollyn

Pollyn

Living In Patterns

[Music! Music Group; 10/04/2011]

By Halley Bondy

September 29, 2011

Nihilistic Pop With Everything On It, Please!

LA’s Pollyn can’t shake the Portishead comparisons. With Genevieve Artadi’s gorgeous soprano soaring over nebulous electronics on their debut album This Little Night, there has been little else to compare them to.

Their sophomore album Living In Patterns, however, has more far-reaching, varied traces. It’s hard to nail down their sound, but they’re certainly gentler than Portishead. They pluck as much from R&B, soul, pop, and world music as they do from cosmic sci-fi  sound effects. In fact, only on this album do samba, Pat Benatar goddess pop, B52s quirky jam vamps, LCD Soundsystem’s electro-melancholy, En Vogue’s scale-hopping soul vocals, and The Andrews Sisters’ harmonies collide. And yes, there’s undeniably some Portishead on there  — mainly when the electronics take over and get weird. (Pollyn even covers the Bristol legends on the b-side of their single “How Small We Are.”)

Living in Patterns is a pleasant, calm, 9-track album set to thick basslines, atmospheric reverb and crunch, involved percussion, and Sisyphean lyrics like “How do you deal with disappointment?”  “What if I had forever?” and “We keep on. Going through the motions. It’s all been done.”

Yet, it’s overall uplifting, due in part to the quick beats, and in part because Pollyn doesn’t tend to take themselves very seriously. Their stick figure animation video for “How Small We Are” — which includes a darling flub by Genevieve in the beginning — will dispel their cerebral packaging. It’s one of the peppier, more soul-based tracks on the album — yet also the most nihilistic.

Pollyn “How Small We Are” from Pollyn on Vimeo.

Photo Courtesy of Music! Music Group

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