Caroline Polachek - PANG
Caroline Polachek has one of the most tremendous voices I've ever heard. It can shift from soft and subtle to massive and expansive in moments. Her vocal bounces around a track tip toeing on every note filling you with this wonderfully warm feeling. That's why when her former band Chairlift broke up it was a huge loss. Her next record an ambient electronica offering made me sad because she didn't sing at all. It felt like she was hiding her greatest gift from us, but it also showed what a varied and diverse artist she truly is. An instagram follow of her page shows a singer, producer, model and actress storming around New York and the world bringing her own sense of weird and sublime. The music feels somewhat close to Chairlift, but far more baroque. Chairlift always had an artistic slant, but it felt balanced by the more straight up pop sensibilities. Caroline allows her voice to take her other places than that, stretching and trying new things just to see where they land. "I Give Up" with it's clanging and banging is gracefully subdued by the next track "Look at Me Now". It's one of the only times I remember hearing Polachek really strip things down and sing just with an acoustic guitar. Her lyrics tend to stay where they usually do; a push pull between submitting to love and the desire for deep personal reflection. The city focuses her ability to dissapear in the corwd, but she still feels the pull of the classic American suburban life. She's like most of us, caught in a world that is rapidly changing while still holding on to traditional ideas of the good.
Her classical training in on full display on "Insomnia". It's almost like she takes operatic techniques and re-imagines them as pop ones. It's not as easy as an opera singer over a pop track she dives deeper using the techniques that suit the song rather than just slapping two things together. "Hey Big Guys" ha her voice blasted through a ton of effects which is less successful, but the track is so intricate and actually kind of nice. "So Hot You're Hurting My Feelings" is the clear pop song of the album, but it;s themes are so relateable to today. Missing someone long distance and their sexy snapchats paining you with desire. The crying on the dance floor seems to reference one of Chairlift's biggest hits "Crying in Public", but only in a little wink. PANG works on so many levels, but the biggest takeaway is just how piercing that voice is. Chills spread through my body multiple times listening to this album creating this sweeping wonderful feeling. This record is really wonderful and has the chance to find more connection than anything She has done before.
8.3 out of 10