EP Review: Slow Power Up – Polysonica

Ravi Light, Frontman of Montreal alt-rock band Slow Power Up’s, describes the band’s debut EP’s sound as, “where the 90s meets the 60s and simple is the name”. The 60s were before my time, but as a child of the 90s, I can say they’ve got their 90s influences covered. From Light’s vocals, which hover between Billy Corgan and Black Francis (The Pixies definitely left their mark on this EP!) to a toned-down Kim Thayil-esqe guitar solo in the song “Down”, “Polysonica” harkens back to the golden age of Alternative Rock. Heck, some songs such as “Madly Truly” and “The Fool” even have a touch of ’00s Post-Punk Revival with sounds that wouldn’t be out of place on an Interpol or The Strokes album.

With an alt-rock backbone, the album’s songs do their utmost to each have their unique sound, or rather sounds. “At First Sight” has a Dave Matthews-esqe intro followed by an upbeat, quasi-pop rock love song that could easily find its way into a teen romance movie. The bipolar “Burning Blue Soul” starts off with a strong whiff of punk and midway through flips the script with a funky, heavy bass and catchy outro. “The Fool” stands out with a soft, dreamy interlude sandwiched between two frenetic rock riffs.The band brings a dynamic energy to their music by shifting sounds without compromising the whole. Despite what one might imagine from that description, it is never jarring and instead offers refreshing variety without sounding too confused or gimmicky.

Front cover of "Polysonica"

Front cover of “Polysonica”

“Polysonica”, as the name implies, conveys a product with many different sounds aimed for a variety of tastes and moods. The band members’ diverse backgrounds help towards this end, each member is given room to stretch their musical muscles. Relatively short, since it is an EP, it nevertheless showcases the band’s strong points. Distinct on their own, and competently melded together, the instrumentation is solid. Where some may take issue is the the vocals, which are often obscured and difficult to make out. The lyrics too, do the trick for the most part, though can also come across lukewarm at times. Still, the potential is certainly there.

Back cover of "Polysonica"

Back cover of “Polysonica”

As a whole, “Polysonica” is a musical kaleidoscope that is catchy and enjoyable to listen to. Fans of Alt Rock craving for a hit of nostalgia should especially take note. Slow Power Up’s debut EP shows us they have the chops for their sound(s), even if they have yet to fully nail them down. It remains to be seen if Slow Power Up will develop a “signature sound” or where they will take their musical ambitions from here. “Polysonica”, though, is without a doubt a very promising start.

Slow Power Up performing at L'Esco, August 30 2016. From band website.

Slow Power Up performing at L’Esco, August 30 2016. From band website.

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Lifelong Montrealer, amateur stand-up comic, opinionated, feisty, with a touch of classy yet punchy wit.

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