One of Sydney’s easiest to listen to bands is Polish Club. However, they often reject being labelled under the genre of rock, despite being a two-piece rock band. Their debut album, Alright Already, a fast, energetic and loud explosion of sweaty garage rock, was driven by the dumb fun that the two band members had cutting it in just eight days. For their sophomore album, the duo have taken a more serious approach to their music, looking to ignore definitions and labels placed on them.
The lynchpin of Polish club has always been the chemistry between drummer John Henry and guitarist/singer Dave Novak. However, debuting on the Get Some Clarity Tour last December, producer and long-time friend Wade Keighran has joined the group as a bass player, expanding the sound. Released last Friday, ‘Iguana’ is the title track off their stellar new album and highlights both how the band have accentuated their strengths and explored new territory.
The track opens with the familiar sound of the Australian pedestrian crossing. In some strange psychological trickery, this noise immediately fires up the listener, kick starting their hearts like the starting pistol of a race. The track itself is a heavy, often dirty sounding, romp with some pop sentimentalities, as if the Veronicas’ ‘Untouched’ was performed by Queens of the Stone Age. The ‘Iguana’ in the song refers to a now closed Kings Cross venue, with sentimentality and a sadness creeping into the song. The fundamentals of Polish Club are distinct in the verse. The grouchy guitar chugs along as the heavy drums provide a steady rock beat alongside the catchy vocal melody. When the chorus comes and Novak calls the audience to “meet (him) at the Iguana”, his growing talent as a vocalist is evident. He has a huge voice that could fill a stadium, but with the vocal flourishes of an American Idol contestant. His voice falls somewhere between the deep resonance of Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner and the passionate deliverance of Kings of Leon’s Caleb Followill. It is these clear and distinct parts effortlessly coming together that makes Polish Club so approachable. Moving away from being just a two-piece, the production work in the bass section gives the entire song a much fuller and complete sound.
While the raw and under-produced charm of the first album is gone, this new sound, like the band themselves, is bigger, making each note feel more important. There is a new depth to Polish Club, which garners a more emotional response. ‘Iguana’ is the perfect title track for their sophomore album. It represents that the band have sacrificed the dumb fun of Alright Already for the emotional complexity heard on the track. Across the entire Iguana album, Polish Club delicately explore new music depths without straying from the simple and easy to listen to composition that defines them.