Artist: Polaroid Kiss
CD title: The New Coliseum EP
Label: Zzyzk Music
Genre: Synthpop, Indie
Last year I was sent a lovely audio treat, by Polaroid Kiss called “Pay Your Dues”. This single became an instant favorite on my show and in the clubs due its minimalist indie synthpop sound. Following the single, Polaroid Kiss released some remixes of the track along with a version of “The New Coliseum”. “The New Coliseum” was a bit more high energy than “Pay Your Dues” but it hinted at a versatility in the band's overall sound. Later, I was excited to learn that a new full-length was in production but to tide fans over PK was releasing an EP of The New Coliseum. After giving this new release a listen I'm even more excited for the upcoming LP.
When I buy an EP I only expect to get the the title track, a similar sounding B-side and a ton of remixes. However, The New Coliseum feels like a full-length album just by the sheer volume and variety of music presented. I really wanted to shove PK into the synthpop category, but after a thorough listen, I am unsure just what to describe the international band as. There is that fun synthpop vibe that Pay Your Dues focused on, but there are some solid indie rock roots that can be heard throughout, as well as acoustic folk and electro-rock leanings.
Opening the EP is a new version of “Pay Your Dues”. There aren't any real ground breaking changes in this version of the song. The drums and guitars are dialed back and there is a stronger dance beat, but beyond that, it wasn't altered too much. I do have to question the logic behind opening up with a song other than the title track. The EP version of “The New Coliseum” has all the of the appeal that the previous version contained. The song builds up slowly keeping to very simple synths and beats at first, but as it progresses more layers are added to let the track soar. The vocals are clear and heartfelt, and I found myself singing along with the chorus halfway through the track. “Torn Apart at the Break of Dawn” is a fast and furious indie powered number, and I was really drawn in by the guitar work and drums. I am assuming the band had a live drummer, because there is a definite organic beat being backed up by an electronic one. “Day to Day” (Threshold of Hell Version) and “When Horses Were King” do a great job of demonstrating the full versatility of the band. Hearing electronic bands do acoustic or folksy sounding songs can be very hit or miss but these tracks flow within the overall sound of the EP beautifully. “Maniateria” and “Stop Motion” are bouncy little electro-rock numbers that give the album a harder edge and would fit in well during a faster paced DJ set. Closing out the EP are several bonus instrumental tracks which take the listener into an entirely different musical world. The New Coliseum, goes from being a sampler of various singles and B-Sides, to a compilation of soft instrumental synthpop soundscapes. Nothing too trancey mind you, but the last 30 minutes are perfect chill-out tunes.
My only complaint about this release is that that there isn't a consistent flow to it. The energy levels jump around and make it hard to really settle in until you hit the bonus tracks. Since it is an EP, I wasn't expecting too much in the way of a smooth listening experience but with all of the musical styles being demonstrated here, I hope the upcoming LP will take this into consideration. Polaroid Kiss has made the EP available in several formats. You can download it digitally for 3 euros, or grab a CD Digipak or 12” Vinyl for a bit more. The physical versions are limited to 500 copies per format, so if you want to get a physical copy I would recommend grabbing it now.
If you're a fan of the recent surge in indie-dance or minimalist synthpop, The New Coliseum is a good album to have in your collection. It gives you a great taste of what Polaroid Kiss is capable of and has the added bonus of some awesome chill-out tracks. It is just right for easy listening, driving, or dancing. I'm very eager to see what the full-length album will sound like later this year, but for now am very happy with the assortment of sounds Polaroid Kiss has added to my growing collection.
Overall Rating: 4 of 5.
Take a listen to: Pay Your Dues
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