Given the calamitous boom-and-bust in demand for lo-fi, two-piece bands, particularly in the UK, it’s little wonder that Polish Club’s debut is only just getting its worldwide release now after making noise in their native Australia for over a year. And simply from that classification as a lo-fi, two-piece band, it’ll undoubtedly get eyes rolling at the thought of yet another boring crossover act with next to no staying power, and the fact that this duo’s biggest break has come from opening for Royal Blood on their most recent Australian tour will only fuel those preconceptions even further.
But while it’s true that Alright Already is another album firmly rooted in pure, straight-laced classic rock timelessness, compared to the blasé notion of the fizzed-out modern rock duo, Polish Club feel so much more live, clearly pulling from punk at multiple junctures (particularly on the blistering Shark Attack!), but tempered with a soulfulness and smoothness for retro-rock done right. There’s definitely a burnished, well-worn feeling that takes precedence on Why Should I and Broke, but galavanised by that sense of punk riotousness pulling the strings on Come Party and, on Whatuknow and especially the cover of Johnny And The Hurricanes’ Red River Rock, the rowdiness of ‘50s rock ‘n’ roll bringing flair in spades.
Even without a great deal of variety – the duo’s range seems to only span between turned-up rock ‘n’ roll blasts and slower but no less intense soul cuts – the fact that Alright Already manages to last fourteen tracks without overstaying its welcome is impressive, and enough of these songs blitz by to keep the pace as quick as possible. But even among all that, the star of the show is vocalist David Novak, breaking out soulful, well-worn howls that give a track like Able such enormous weight and presence. As apt as comparisons to The Gaslight Anthem are, Polish Club manage to sidestep much of their well-trodden Americana into something more raw and physically powerful, and they easily manage to get there.
Most impressive of all though, it looks as if the dull rock duo archetype finally has something to shake it up in the form of Polish Club. A sound like this is an easy sell, after all, and with the energy and strength that Alright Already brings such ease, Polish Club could definitely take this a lot further if they wanted to. It really does feel like an album with a little something for everyone, and that’s ultimately what will see this duo blossom most of all.
For fans of: The Gaslight Anthem, The Menzingers, Dune Rats
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Alright Already’ by Polish Club is out now.