Some albums are just fun. They put any pretension aside and make music that contains infectious hooks and puts you in a good mood. That’s one of the ways I would explain the exceptional new release by Poly Action entitled Baby's First Rock n' Roll.
The band mentions bands like Ween, Pavement, Wilco and Beck as reference points. I’d argue that Poly Action embraces surf rock more than any of those bands. Their music doesn’t contain the undercurrent of weariness and melancholy that you hear from Wilco or the genre hopping nature of Ween. A much better parallel would be the band Girls that embrace very similar aesthetics and often combine similar genres.
Baby's First Rock n' Roll contains ten songs and no lulls. Sequential order matters to some of us out there like myself who was raised listening to tapes. It seems it matters to the members of Poly Action as well. The band cuts the fat off the tracks and leaves us with songs that felt like a pleasure to listen to in sequential order.
Without saying a word that band gets your attention with the opener “Outta Tune” as they launch in a Sonic Youth-esque wall of sound. They quickly lay off and launch into a catchy and buoyant verse. It’s amazing how much you can cram into two minutes and forty-six seconds with a talented group of musicians. It feels substantial despite not getting past the three-minute mark.
From there on the band delivers the goods. The surf rock inspired drumming on “Ten Hundred Years” and the saloon style beginning on “Black Smoke Cloud” are just some of the impressive moments throughout this album.
The band's single “The Accident of 1993” combines surf with a vibe that work in a frivolous spy thriller from the ’70s. I love the combined sense of danger, noir and levity. The band can even get you emotional with songs like the closer “Staying Awake.”
This is a great album and one I will be revisiting quite regularly. Highly recommended.
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