With the release of their 2012 LP Give You the Ghost, Poliça marked themselves as one of the most exciting alternative electronic acts around. That record was defined by the group’s unique brand of dark, industrial electronica, boosted by front woman Channy Leaneagh’s piercing layered vocals and some utterly relentless percussion. It was an absorbing record, rather than merely an enjoyable one, but it did contain a number of tracks that hinted at a different side to the band, not to mention plenty of scope for future experimentation. This process of adaptation became more evident on their follow up record Shulamith, where the band’s grasp of pop music became more apparent, and it has continued here with their third, and perhaps most interesting album, United Crushers. Less iconic, and possibly less structured, than their penetrating debut, the new album’s strength lies in its variety, alteration, and application. Incorporating a good mix of pop and experimental tunes, United Crushers is arguably a more rounded record than its predecessors and even feels like something of a breakthrough record for a band that have been on the margins of mainstream since their formation. Poliça have neatly refined their raw, foreboding sound, and although their trademark industrial synth remains an underlying presence throughout, it has notably branched out in new directions.
Protruding, multi-layered songs like ‘Summer Please’, and ‘Top Coat’ are reminiscent of Scandinavian alternative electronic acts such as The Knife and Fever Ray, while the trip-hop influenced ‘Berlin’, and the more space age, futuristic ‘Kind’ hint at greater experimentation. The pop songs meanwhile are more plentiful and diverse than on previous albums, with some even sounding like proper, electropop dance tunes. Tracks like ‘Lime Habit’, ‘Someway’ and ‘Baby Sucks’ follow a quick, heavily rhythmic hip-hop beat pattern, while the presence of more soulful slow grooves like ‘Lately’ and ‘Lose You’ accentuate the record’s balance. Unlike the two previous albums which were slightly more abrupt, United Crushers also demonstrates a great continuance between tracks, creating a progressive flow akin to a DJ mix. It’s an apt feature for a record that embraces transition.