Home > Music > POLYSICS – ENO (2001)


folderNeil Cicerega, this is all your fault.

How can it be that I went over 4 years without writing on a band that opened the floodgates to my current musical tastes? When I first discovered POLYSICS, I had already gotten into the habit of thinking of my various pop cultural discoveries as a chain of links, one leading smoothly into the next. It probably wasn’t true in the slightest, since it implies that I followed a rather more logical path from one diversion to the next than what actually ended up occurring. End result? If I took the theory I just introduced seriously enough, I would place the burden of myself upon Peter Molyneux and Populous: The Beginning. Needless to say, I really wasn’t a fan of Black and White, so we’re not going to be doing that.

Still, ENO is a good jumping off point for how I developed my musical awareness outside the entirely different classical and jazz performance worlds. After its intro, the first real song (“New Wave Jacket”) showcases the essential balancing act POLYSICS has played through their career – psychoacoustic noise cavorting with blatant pop rock. The whole “New Wave” rock movement in the 1980s was a big influence on this band, particularly in how they add in their electronic elements, but ENO also showcases POLYSICS at very nearly their noisiest and most abrasive; the one exception probably being the album before it (Neu – in case you haven’t noticed, this band likes naming their albums and songs after artists and bands.) Given what they followed this up with (the literally named For Young Electric Pop), you could argue for this being some sort of transitional album if you wanted to.

I know that I’ll be doing that; ENO seems fairly typical as transitional albums at a certain level of execution go. While later albums tone down the noise part of this band’s noise pop a bit, the songs here tend towards the joyfully abrasive (contrast to, iuno, shrieky black metal), with a few exceptions that toss the brickwalled production out in favor of dissonance (“H MAJOR”), and a few breaks for your sore ears (“Weak Point” and “Highway Rule”). If you’re listening to the album in one whole go, those might really come in handy, since one of this album’s major flaws is that it’s mixed trebly with tons of high pitched synthesizer bleeps, and the constant fatigue may cause your ears to bleed a bit. Furthermore, this doesn’t really help express any dynamic range the band has; luckily this was something they worked on in later albums.

Given that I started listening to POLYSICS significantly before I adopted my “always listen to full albums at least once” approach, my initial experience with this album was akin to if the band had released a stream of singles, and as such, the usual disclaimer about objectivity applies here. If I weren’t writing for an audience that expects a lot of heavy metal discussion from me, I’d almost be more willing to the more polished later works above these – 2008’s “We Ate The Machine” comes to mind. But for you, the hypothetical hessian? Just drop in anywhere; you’ll be fine.

Highlights: “New Wave Jacket”, “Weak Point”, “I&I”

P.S: It’s my 300th post. I figured I might as well do something fancy with it.


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