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Polaroids Of Androids

Record Reviews


Megastick Fanfare
Grit Aglow

Nice to step out of the jungle. I mean, it was getting awfully crowded in there. One trick hippy birds with hairy underarms and more privileged Coastal bongo drummers than you could poke a Dream Stick at. Electricity should do the trick. And maybe a touch more soul. It should also give the subjects of this little story their life. Essential at this point as they make the much needed transformation from tribal mechanisms into more elastic hybrid brothers, free-wheeling members of the world that exists outside their enclosure.

Grit Aglow is an attempt to escape. It's the sound of a band discarding their old skin and, more importantly, embracing a reshaped existence. A warm waterfall splash — or more appropriately — a sharp circuit board jolt as the glistening clear juice leaks under their hybrid human-robotic skin. A reboot. Rejuvenating and reigniting lost creative flows, forcing a revolt against not only the movements of their alternate cached versions, but also against the expectations of the curious onlookers and the self-created limitations of their own former exhibitions.

The group's greater sense of control over their compositions, combined with an emphasised degree of passion, are the real great improvements here. This is best displayed on the opening track, Meconium, which slowly glides off into the cosmos, leaving the band's former safety net of forest chanting and metronomic leather thuds to play catch-up. Similarly, the newly discovered format of creating an unexpected solitary focal point — the flute-led wails of Good φer and the stripped-back keys on Piano Song/Next Stop~~~~~ — compliments their addiction to chaos, whereby the fixed foundation provides a logical path for the group to erratically drive down in their various electronic and wind-powered vehicles.

But, unfortunately, on numerous occasions throughout Grit Aglow the band fall back into their old habits, too eagerly embracing the confusion. Pow sounds like one of their former An-Co-inspired jams, hastily re-fined through an "experimental" Pro Tools filter and then buried under a plethora of layers, awkwardly bringing in rough guitar riffs and various stock electronic snippets without any logical direction. T Is A P is equally lost in it's own cyclonic wandering, splitting it's time between Thom Yorke impersonations, half-hearted rock 'n' roll explosions and sporadic strobe-loops, with the hyperactive uneasiness destroying any emotive connection with the listener. There's little sense of discipline within these creative orgasms and while there's some enjoyment to be had in the idea of aimlessly trekking out on another restriction-free jaunt, more often than not the journey's mountainous terrain doesn't justify the destination reached. This overly embraced sense of freedom is miscommunicated as a lack of purpose and an inability to translate a multitude of ideas into a logical manner, rather than the desired effect of being the evidence of a band without limitations.

All that said, Grit Aglow should still be considered a victory. While still needing to discover the best destination to fly to in their mirror-polished rocketships and crinkled hemp tracksuits, Megastick Fanfare have taken some giant leaps with this record, separating themselves from the alumni they arrived alongside and starting the difficult task of forging their own unique identity.

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