ALBUM REVIEW: Polish Club – ‘Now We’re Cookin’’

Words Kate Lockyer {Kate Lockyer Music}

Polish Club, known to their fans as “the sweatiest rock band in Sydney”, have taken a left turn in their sound with their latest release, a yummy new album called ‘Now We’re Cookin’. Novak and JH make up the dynamic duo, aka vocalist and guitarist David Novak and drummer John-Henry Pajak. During lockdown they’ve pumped out an incredible 90 songs – narrowed down to 10 for this release, which gives us some indication of the prolific musical development they’ve undergone. The album draws on the rawness of their rock background, while delivering a new pop sound that is positively delectable.

Stop For a Minute was released earlier this year, and its catchiness makes you feel like it’s already somehow familiar on the first listen, by virtue of some magnetic quality that you can’t quite put your finger on. Busting out the fuzzy guitar immediately, a steady beat rocks the tune before a pause for every word of “Stop for a minute” in the chorus. At first Novak’s slick vocals pull your focus, singing “Meet me in the club / Tell me that’s what’s up / Baby hold on, hold on, wait / Stop for a minute, oh”, but then you realise there’s more to this song. The political climate of #MeToo in the Australian music industry has filtered through to their songs, and Novak says the song is about men in their industry – and Novak says that what he means, exactly, is “Hey, don’t be a fucking rapist”. With lyrics like “All your heroes end up / Being fucking monsters / Tell me why it feels right / ‘Til it goes too far”, the song is as powerful a political statement as it is a musical hit.

New Age features Novak’s shiny falsetto, driving percussion and toe-tapping guitar riffs. The lyrics echo the pressures and anxiety of our new age – “We’re all just racing to a fall / To all outlast the odds / My everlasting monologue / Anxiety is all”. Channelling the universal experiences of people trying to keep their heads above water in the rat race, Polish Club tie this in with the experience of living without their lover.

The next track, Fix Your Heart, is brimming with melancholy. “But I can’t go up in the elevator / While keepin’ my thoughts to myself / Doesn’t take much time ‘til I escalate it / Doesn’t take time ‘til I ask myself, ‘What you waitin’ for? / Fix your heart.” If it wasn’t for the slightly grungy voice of Novak, the synth, tumbling down in descending notes, would make this tune feel like a song from an ABBA soundtrack. Sounds like an odd combo, but the elements work to perfection, twisting themselves around your heartstrings.

No Heaven is just as full of heartrending emotion, with a dramatic dynamic split. The first part of the song, a simple guitar instrumentation alongside Novak’s quiet vocals, feels very soft and ballad-y. In the second part crashing cymbals, dramatic guitar, and raw vocals that sing “You make me feel / Like I don’t need a heaven”, contrast with gentle piano. In the end, the song is stripped back to Novak rasping that line again, with the strum of a guitar behind him.

Whack hails back to a much more rock-inspired sound – distortion on the guitar, strong drums and loud vocals with a whole lotta oomph. Novak says the song “is a general ‘don’t be a dick’”. The vocals are full of grunt, especially as he sings “twenty-four seven and three-sixty-five!”

Just Talking is another upbeat tune, this one bringing us out of the grime of a bar room fight and into a sunnier atmosphere. It tells a parallel story – why bother fighting over something when you could just have a convo about it? “I don’t know why my temper’s burnin’ / And my lips are tight yeah / I don’t know why my brow is curlin’ / Cause this isn’t a fight!”

I Didn’t Want That (For You), circles back to play us another love ballad. Temperate and earnest, the steady drums, understated guitar and gentle vocals all add to the message of loyalty and love, lost. The next tune, Baby We’re Burning, is just as much of a love story, this one maybe more hopeful, and maybe more  intense. “As long as we’re burning / You’ll always know / As long as we’re burning  / You won’t be dancing alone”, belted alongside frenetic drums and roaring guitar.

The last track, very subtly called Fuck Off & Die, is a chilly goodbye to someone who has hurt you. It is a simple song to finish off the album, with only a strummed guitar to accompany Novak’s voice, “Why don’t you just fuck off and die, oh / You’re like a needle through my eye, oh” – relatively sweetly sung, considering the message.

The duo drops ‘Now We’re Cookin’, full of scrumptious sonic treats to munch on, in the lead-up to their first tour as a four-piece band. Melbourne four-piece Press Club will be taking their equally frenetic live show along for the ride at every show for Now We’re Tourin’.

Listen to/Purchase Polish Club’s new album HERE!

Presented by triple j
Thursday 28 October – The Tivoli, Brisbane QLD
Friday 29 October – Miami Marketta, Gold Coast QLD
Thursday 4 November – Torquay Hotel, Torquay VIC
Friday 5 November – Croxton, Melbourne VIC
Thursday 11 November – The Gov, Adelaide SA
Friday 12 November – Badlands, Perth WA
Wednesday 24 November – Uow Unibar, Wollongong NSW
Thursday 25 November – The Cambridge, Newcastle NSW
Thursday 9 December – Roundhouse, Sydney NSW

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With thanks to Positive Feedback

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