Poliça | Give You the Ghost

Totally Gross National Product (2012)  
By RYAN REED  |  February 21, 2012
2.5 2.5 Stars

R&B, meet prog. No, it's not exactly a match made in heaven, but forward-thinking duo Poliça — Gayngs producer-instrumentalist Ryan Olson and singer Channy Leaneagh — get a shitload of mileage out of that very strange brew. Olson weaves impressively psychedelic synth textures, and the show-stealing rhythm section (drummers Ben Ivascu and Drew Christopherson, bassist Chris Bierdan) summon thick, echoing caverns of ghostly muscle. But Give You the Ghost is only as transfixing as its singer. Leaneagh has an emotive, heart-wrenching voice, but it's swaddled in Auto-Tune, half-way between a wink and a revelation. Most of the time, it's the latter: on "Lay Your Cards Out" (featuring backing vocals from Bon Iver side-dude Mike Noyce), Leaneagh sounds like a late-'90s dubstep-sampled diva gloriously fighting for air in a blinding weed fog. She plays that role a little too well — about halfway through the album, her jittery soul runs start recycling themselves, and the once-spooky Auto-Tune loses its ethereal luster. "Dark Star" is a victim of melodic stalemate, despite its blaring Phil Collins–esque horn charts and Neil Peart tom-tom flourishes. At least in this case, repetition breeds cohesion: even when Leaneagh treads water, Olson and company refuse to cease their alien sonic stranglehold.

POLIÇA + GUILLERMO SEXO | Great Scott, 1222 Comm Ave, Allston| March 29 @ 9 pm | $10 | 18+ | 617.566.9014

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