When I first heard Sydney duo Polish Club, the raw, unbridled energy of their first EP blaring into my ears, I knew they’d quickly cement themselves as one of my favourite bands of the modern era. Rock and fucking roll is all they know and they do it so simply and so, so well.
After two years of near-constant touring together and laying a foundation as a band off some of the most fun singles any Australian band has released in the last decade as well as the aforementioned stomper of an EP, Polish Club have officially arrived today with the release of their debut longplayer Alright Already.
They’re not here to fuck spiders.
Interviewing frontman (and owner of one of the best set of pipes you’ll ever be fortunate enough to hear) Novak a few weeks ago, he talked about how this record was going to represent the complete Polish Club sound, something we hadn’t seen or heard on their party-centric anthems thus far.
From opening salvo Where U Been though we get warm, familiar Polish Club. The Polish Club who take rock and roll with an old soul and transplant it so effortlessly into the modern era. It crashes like an old Hives song, vintage guitars and belting drums and Novak’s near-inimitable howl grabbing you by the throat.
The pace doesn’t slow once sophomore single Come Party kicks in either. And it kicks the fuck in, you can already hear the chorus of “Have fun later, come party with me” being absolutely bellowed back at the duo by a crowd going apeshit. Drummer John shines brightest on these fast-paced tracks, Novak might be the focal point but John is the boiler room working to within an inch of his life to keep all that raw energy focused and steaming ahead.
And then it happens on the third track. Where the unstoppable freight train of Beeping was the first Polish Club tune I ever heard, it was actually the slow-burning anthem Able from that first EP that sat me bolt upright (both have been subtly tweaked and re-released on Alright Already) and third track If It Was Me had the exact same effect.
This is the most complete Polish Club song there ever was. A stomping guitar riff, punishingly deliberate percussion, a beautiful build to the chorus. The pace might be slowed but it still absolutely bangs. And then, just when you think you know the answers, the boys change the questions, a jangly guitar slices through the smoke and the song goes into that utter chaotic overdrive every fan has come to know and love. It’s so spinetinglingly good, you can almost understand why one punter threatened the band if they didn’t put it on this album.
First single Beat Up follows and is a roaring delight, a muted riff climbing up to a euphoric chorus, the build up to the crescendo just masterful.
And then we dial it back down for the sublime Why Should I. Goddamnit, go and sit yourself down and listen to this. Listen to that “Yeah” that erupts from the deepest part of Novak’s very soul and soars across the sky like a phoenix to kick off every chorus. They might be the best yeahs in the history of yeahs ever uttered. These yeahs will put hair on your chest. If these yeahs were a day of the week they’d be Friday at knock-off with a cold beer ready to go. The chord progression across the chorus is crack cocaine good too. I listened to Why Should I three weeks ago for the first time and I’ve been stuck in the AntonioBanderasStoked.gif position ever since, please help.
It’s five tracks in and I already need a cigarette and someone to hold me.
The throwback surfy vibes of Watchuknow are as boogie-inducing as you’ll find on the record, as is what should be a live staple for when Polish Club want people in their moshpit to lose limbs in the outrageously frenetic Shark Attack!
How To Be Alone is another ballad, one that throws you back to The Skyliners playing in an old diner while you and your best girl get a milkshake and a burger and one that allows Novak’s voice ample room to shine. His phenomenal vocal talents are omnipresent throughout the entire album, but they often get caught up in the racket around him and your mind can’t really work fast enough to truly appreciate it. Not here, here it fucking hits the stratosphere.
The bluesy sway of Broke is another ripper, the riff scuttling back and forwards with the backbeat like a pair of drunken crabs in a knife fight. Divided is a certifiable lighter-waver as we near the end of the record, climbing up a winding staircase and then free-falling off of it for penultimate track My Delight¸ a slightly folky, hand-clap heavy party tune.
There’s a cover of Red River Rock to end proceedings, an instrumental standard from Johnny And The Hurricanes, backed by a polka band (probably an homage to everyone who has ever tried to Google ‘Polish Club’ and been given a list of actual clubs for Polish people) and Alright Already is in the books.
I’m hitting repeat immediately.
This is the kind of debut record every band should have. Not just a satisfying realisation of all the hype but taking the foundation they’ve laid for two years and planting a tower on it. This is one of the best pure rock and roll records I’ve heard since Royal Headache’s self-titled and if Polish Club don’t find themselves in the ‘national treasure’ echelon of Australian acts like Soho and Dune Rats very soon I’ll be surprised.
Most of all, this is a record that just makes you feel good. In part because of the beautifully simple yet head-kickingly effective sound they’ve near perfected but also because of the palpable fun you can hear both Novak and John having as they play. It bodes incredibly well for their upcoming national tour (which you should sell your mother’s soul to attend while there’s still sitting room on the bandwagon) as well as whatever the future holds for Polish Club.
We hope it’s a dozen more albums just as fantastic as Alright Already.
Alright Already is out now
Image: Effusive Magazine