While listening to Polock’s debut album, Getting Down From the Trees, I instantly wondered how many people were going to listen to this album and believe Polock is an American band playing American music. This Spanish group proves that even now, cultural barriers exist in the music world: When listening to something done in the English language, audiences simply assume it’s U.S-bred. Many seem to forget our most memorable and infectious doses of indie pop in the last few years have hailed from Europe. And so, lo and behold, Polock serves us classic indie pop on a silver platter, and it’s my (quite obvious) prediction that people everywhere will fall in love with what they’ve created.
Let’s start with the faults. I refer to my previously mentioned prediction as “quite obvious” because, however lovable an album, Polock is basically Phoenix with a different nationality. That may be unfair of me to say, because there has always been and will always be a sort of tug-of-war of creative influence between musicians and artists, a cyclical pattern of style throughout time, and is therefore, practically impossible to make anything even close to original. There will always be discussion as to who came first, as to who did it better, or who was pure crap. Polock is typical indie, that which you’ve heard in the work of, yes, Phoenix, the Shout Out Louds, and even a bit of Mumford & Sons if you listen to the right riffs.
That being said and all cynicism aside, I know the success to come from Polock’s work will be nothing short of well-deserved. While not entirely satisfied with the musical aspect of their songs, it was thrilling to listen to Polock’s beautifully-told stories. I smiled, feeling almost like a stranger eavesdropping on hushed tales told by parents about their foolish youth.
Getting Down From the Trees speaks of simple things. Of the inevitable lust that’s born from friendship in “Nice To Meet You.” Of the almost obscure humor in the way people fall in love in the opening line of “Faster Love”: “I first saw you/puking in the streets/you were on your own/I fell in love.” They’re poems of ordinary moments charged with spark and chemistry, of “Fireworks” and complicated women and the reluctancy to rely on word-of-mouth.
For me, the clever simplicity in Polock’s songs is what made this album worth my while. In such a reverberated genre, they’ve managed to create a collection that can be deemed as special in its cartoonish approach to musical writing—it’s almost childish, definitely comical, and especially endearing. With lines such as “That white dress doesn’t suit you that well/party lights don’t make you shine” (from “High On Life”) and “I don’t believe in anyone/except for my mom/I don’t believe in George/tangerines or unicorns,” (from “Tangerines and Unicorns”) how do you expect me to a resist a group of Spanish boy-musicians? I tend to fall in love with storytellers, they manipulate so well….