Polar Bear Club - Clash Battle Guilt Pride
Released September 12, 2011 via Bridge Nine | Rating: 3/5 | By Ian Chaddock
This second album for Bridge Nine from Polar Bear Club shows evolution since their 2009 album 'Chasing Hamburg'. While the Rochester quintet still focus on big melodies and edgy, energetic sing-alongs, this album seems to offer more depth than their previous work. After the delicate intro of 'Pawner', 'Killin It' brings a huge riff and infectious backing vocals. Focusing on the relationships they try to maintain while spending a large amount of their lives on the road, it's a mature yet melodic album, with anthems such as album highlights, rousing 'Screams In Caves' and sprawling, reflective 'I'll Never Leave New York' showing how they've grown over their six year existence. Influenced by the likes of Rites Of Spring, Jimmy Eat World and Embrace, this is the sound of a band allowing their music to breathe. 'Kneel On Nails' and 'My Best Days' burn with a melodic intensity, although the guitars are disappointingly low in the mix. However, tracks such as 'Bottled Wind', 'Slow Roam' and closer '3-4 Tango' are slightly too mid-paced and generic to rise above being more than just filler. 'Religion On The Radio' soars with a huge chorus and Jimmy Stadt's raw yet powerful vocals take off. While it's admirable that PBC have moved on from the crunching, Hot Water Music-influenced post-hardcore of their earlier material, this album could well divide fans due to its more reflective, slower pace. Guilt and pride in equal measure?