Darkwave Pop from Berlin Taxi

Make no mistake about it, I grew up in the 80s, so there’s always been a heavy dose of synth pop in my musical rotation. Through the years, my other tastes have bled in, primarily through Blank Dogs (initially). In a sense, Berlin Taxi sounds a bit like that in regards to the vocals, though they’ve included a little more pop oriented vibes in their tunes. Synth lines are pretty bright in spots, giving off that classic 80s soundtrack vibe, contrasted against the heavier tones of the vocals, just to keep the dance world in balance. On April 12th they’ll release the Contract EP.

Poliça – Shulamith

Polica_ShulamithRating: ★★★☆☆

It seems like in this day and age, making an album once every year is no big deal for an artist to do, so it’s no surprise that this 2012 buzz band is back for round two so soon. Lead by front woman, Channy Leaneagh, Poliça first made waves in the indie world with their synth based take on R&B. With the rise of synth pop and triphop groups with female, hyper-feminine vocalists, a-la Grimes and Purity Ring, it only seems natural that Poliça is making their rise quickly; the atmosphere is right for this group and Shulamith offers a grouping of songs that utilize the tools already in place from Give You The Ghost.

“Chain My Name,” kicks the album off with fast paced, body roll-inducing beats and Leaneagh’s auto-tuned vocals spouting off lyrics quickly, trying to keep up with the music. A funky bass line compliments the tinkering upper levels of synthesizer sound, and the percussion constantly pattering beneath it all. What is interesting about Poliça and a little different from other than the other groups that I mentioned previously is that the lead vocals aren’t exceptionally strong in their nature—Leaneagh’s altered vocals almost blend in with the other electronic elements; an extra layer of synth to add to the mix. It’s a fun number that should have you dancing around whatever space you find yourself listening in.

Next up on the highlight reel of this record is “Vegas,” which plays into the R&B vibe that this band has played into. Slower and more seductive, but never sleazy as the title would suggest, this track is purely enticing to listen to. Leaneagh’s voice takes on some power in this track, though still not overt in its nature. Later on, Justin Vernon joins the group to add some much needed variety half way through the album. Such song, “Tiff” is a another slower number, but Vernon’s higher pitched backing vocals give a twist on the song that sets it apart from the other numbers; the element that seems to be lacking from some other tunes.

Despite its redundancy in sound to their debut album, and to itself in places, Shulamith is an album that offers a nice change up in your listening catalogue. Perhaps a bit too long—on a song to song basis as well as the whole album—there is definitely room for improvement. Obviously some tracks have gleaned my attention more than others, but if you’re looking for some new jams to groove out to, check it out.