Polar Bear Club

Sometimes Things Just Disappear

Written by: PP on 27/01/2009 02:25:06

Almost all classic, seminal, and amazing albums begin with an explosive opening piece, one that blows open your consciousness in one huge swell as if to let you know that something ridiculously good is coming your way as we speak. Not "Sometimes Things Just Disappear" by Polar Bear Club, the best album of 2008 that passed by our coverage unnoticed, possibly even the very best album of 2008: 9.5/10 at Scenepointblank.com and 96% at AP.net already speak volumes of how great this album really is, and now it's our turn to pay our dues and praise this album to the skies.

OK, enough credentials, back to the review. Like I mentioned already, "Sometimes Things Just Disappear" doesn't begin with an explosion. It actually begins with the opposite of an explosion, a calm lull in the form of relaxed guitars and a distant, faded back drumbeat that eventually leads into a great opening lyric by vocalist Jimmy Stadt: "200 gallons ago", which is expanded into a passionate, metaphoric story about being far away from home and finally getting back, told through some of the best lyrical work I've ever heard: "I need a windshield built for war that can withstand my confidence / Today I reached into a shitter and saw the inmost part of me / My reflection has looked better, but never clean". This is backed by unusually slow and unpredictable angular riffs and completely original drum-sequences to the point that you'll already be thinking "this... THIS is why I love music". Stadt's characteristically warm, though still coarse vocal has clearly been inspired by Hot Water Music, as every harsh note and clean melody wallows in raw passion and pure love for what he's doing.

And that was just the first song on the record, and as amazing as it is already, "Hollow Place" tops that by a boatload by throwing in a ridiculously good chorus. But that doesn't match "Another Night At The Rock", which brings forth more amazing lyricism that especially us Danes can appreciate: "My view has been slightly pessimistic as of late / My heart and face are quite conflicted in this place / Another night, in 'the rock' / Cold and alone / Inside of this full house" - what makes these lyrics especially good is the entirely original way in which they are sung. Just when you'd expect Stadt to have a conventional pause before the next line, he'll already throw in another upwards/downwards climbing vocal note. It's extremely difficult to describe in words other than by saying that he's unpredictable in his delivery, and he executes his timings brilliantly. What's even better is that the rest of the band follows his suit all the time, delivering some of the most original music I've come across this decade. Just listen to the song on the Myspace player below and you'll know what I mean.

"Burned Out In A Jar" is probably the catchiest song on the album and a good candidate for the best song on the album as well. If this song leaves you cold then I don't know what to tell you, other than that you can't possibly seriously like music. Same goes for "Our Ballads", which brings forth more story-telling in the lyricism. And as if to ridicule the conventional standards of the music industry, the last two tracks "Heart Attack For Thirty" and "Convinced I'm Wrong" close the album in the earlier mentioned explosion. If the rest of the album could've been classified as a strange fusion of the post-hardcore, alternative, and punk genres, the first one of these boys is pure hardcore punk, and the second one is a progressive ballad that erupts into the greatest chorus/verse combination of the entire album towards the end of the song.

You'll notice I haven't really compared Polar Bear Club to other bands in this review, and this is for a reason. Aside from the distant Hot Water Music vibe going on at times, it's impossible to place this band in a group with similar-sounding acts. They just don't exist, and if they do, you need to let me know immediately before I'll hunt you down. But if words and phrases such as 'nostalgic', 'melancholic', 'passionate', 'astonishingly beautiful', 'gruff edge' appeal to you, and you always appreciated the effect of bands like Bad Religion, Bear Vs Shark, Hot Water Music, Lifetime (etc etc) on the modern music scene, then Polar Bear Club and "Sometimes Things Just Disappear" will be your favorite album, if not just 2008, perhaps of the entire decade.


Download: Another Night In The Rock, Convinced I'm Wrong, Burned Out In A Jar
For the fans of: Rise Against, Hot Water Music, Bear Vs Shark, Bad Religion
Listen: Myspace

Release date 11.03.2008
Red Leader

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