Published on November 1st, 2013 | by Chip Copeland1
Poliça – Shulamith
Poliça play for keeps on sophomore album Shulamith
Shulamith; the female derivation of Solomon (according to my web search) and according to other music blogs it’s a reference to the late feminist Shulamith Firestone and her work The Dialect of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution.
Admittedly, I don’t really know anything about that kind of stuff. I have never really delved much into any feminist literature but do have friends who are self-described feminists. What I know of feminism I learned through conversations and having relationships with the opposite sex. Honestly, I’m just an average dude who feels as if women should be treated with just as much respect as anyone else. What I do know is that all the nasty shit (sexism, wageism, rape, misogyny: which Cvrches’ Lauren Mayberry has recently spoke out against) perpetrated against women, still to this day, bothers me. As it should any normal human being that breathes air and has a brain.
Unfortunately, it seems as many males of our species don’t consider women to be their equals. Myths perpetrated by patriarchal religious and political institutions that are rotten and festering shit factories where men, and even some women, continue to generate and propagate ideas that should have died out years ago. Sadly, they haven’t. And now that I’m a father to a daughter my hope is that we will evolve, within her lifetime, so she won’t be confronted with the kind of crap so many women have before her.
I consider these concepts to be pretty simple really, but to a woman in Poliça vocalist Channy Leaneagh’s experience, maybe it’s not quite as simple. Cuz, you know, she’s a girl and I’m not.
What I do know is that Shulamith is a pretty badass record from start to finish. Leaneagh and her bandmates, along with co-writer/producer Ryan Olson, have produced a sonically intellectual album which works on several levels. Sure, you could focus on the lyrical content and meaning which is close to the songwriters heart or take the songs as sonically stimulating aural canvases that suck you in, chew on your brain and spit it back out.
Songs like ‘Tiff’, featuring a warbled and highly affected Justin Vernon guest appearance, has a drive and power that recalls Violator era Depeche Mode. In fact, the more I listened to this record I was constantly reminded of that bands work as well as Dummy by Portishead. A sexy and seductive package covering a fragile yet powerful chewy center that is only enriched upon by every subsequent listen.
Leaneagh has moved beyond experimenting with the concept of her voice as instrument, using effects as a way to embellish her already fantastic natural ability. We discussed this concept in an interview I did with her on our podcast back in 2011. In Poliça, Channy’s voice provides texture and punctuation as well as a delivery vehicle for lyrical content that is reminiscent of a jazz saxophonist; a modern day Charlie Parker or Cannonball Adderley if you will. An instrument weaving in and out of propulsive beats provided by a duo of drummers, phat synths (yes, I used the word ‘phat’ when describing synths) and groove laden bass lines.
Channy Leaneagh and Poliça are part of a group of artists creating music for the future; powerful and seductive music that is also confident, provocative and intelligent.
But what do I know, I’m just some dude.
Summary: It's a damn shame that so many people are paying attention to who's twerking right now instead of these artists that actually could help inspire and empower a generation of young women everywhere.