We need more politics in music, but not poor music with a political twist, writes GARY STEEL
The really irritating thing about these Minneapolis-derived electronic agit-proppers is that United Crushers – their third album – is such a botched job. I mean, they’ve had three albums to work on their thing now, and it’s a fail in so many ways.
Which isn’t to say that it doesn’t have its moments, and any band that actually dares to have a political perspective right now is worthy of at least some discussion. (After all, 99.9 percent of bands, including so-called ‘alt’ and ‘experimental’ projects, clearly don’t give a rat’s ass about anything but their immediate romantic obsessions).
But United Crushers doesn’t give us anything much beyond despair, and it’s a dull, monochromatic kind of despair, at that. There’s none of the genuinely mobilizing impetus of say, the last album by Swedish duo The Knife. More importantly, the music just doesn’t have any heft in its rhythms or accents or any real surprise or grit.
There are a few songs that stand out amongst the rather germ-free clarity of the recording. ‘Top Coat’, for instance, sees her voice processed effectively and someone gets the idea that synthesisers can still be an effective nasty ingredient to rub into a track.
Ultimately, there’s just not enough here to justify a song, let alone an album. It feels like a female singer and a male electronics fiend with too few ideas – musically, lyrically or otherwise – to convince. [In fact, it’s a group, but musically, you’d never recognise that].
And that’s a pity, because there’s something about Poliça that really makes you want to like them. It’s one of those albums that sits right on the edge. “Could I grow to like this?” I kept asking myself, but always, there were too many missteps, and too much of the same.
It’s a great pity, because if they just found even a hint of a funky bone, got some cool basslines or lost the lead-feet of their drum machine, they might be onto something. Oh, and if they got a sense of humour, maybe.