Polar Bear Club, Clash Battle Guilt Pride, Bridge Nine Records
My personal emo proving grounds was in the mid-90s, so when a band like Polar Bear Club comes along and dials a punk sound back to that era I tend to have their back. While the band’s debut, Sometimes Things Just Disappear, is still one of my favorite punk records of the last decade, their follow up, Chasing Hamburg, got less facetime at che-YouIndie. Simply, their sophomore output just didn’t have the teeth of their debut. After spinning Clash Battle Guilt Pride openers “Pawning” and “Killin’ It,” which return the band to form and bring them out swinging with a more refined version of STJD’s ferocity, I’m immediately sold. And singer Jimmy Stadt’s grizzled, Hot Water Music-esque delivery is as heartfelt and confident as ever. If the band were to release a single, it would be the anthemic “Screams In Caves.”
If I’m being honest, CBGP suffers a little bit on the back end. While it contains some of the strongest songs in PBC’s discography, the second half of the record loses some steam. That’s not to say songs like “Life Between The Lines” aren’t interesting rhythmically and melodically, because they are. They just don’t have the muscle or staying power of the record’s front end bangers.
Regardless, Polar Bear Club’s latest is a record with some definite highlights, allowing the band to retain those in their fanbase who come of the anthems, and making some wiggle room to experiment with new concepts.
Recommended For Fans Of: Small Brown Bike, Hot Water Music, Rise Against