Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition
Artist captures shape-shifting love
Finally giving into the anticipation that has awaited since her 2019 album “Pang,” Caroline Polachek greets 2023 with “Desire, I Want To Turn Into You.” Between sweeping anthems, folkloric serenades and electronic teases, the artist captures the transcendent and elusive forces of love.
Incorporating singles known for their catchy rhythms, like 2021’s “Bunny Is a Rider” and last summer’s “Sunset,” into a swath of eerie meditations, such as “Crude Drawing of an Angel” and “Hopedrunk Everasking,” Polachek imbues pastoral harmonies and vocal flares into her romanticism, primeval drifting into the future.
Polachek lures listeners in with the playful “Welcome to My Island” before shifting toward the atmospheric weight of “Pretty Impossible” that lends its synthetic beats to the impassioned quest “I Believe” that flows into the emotional longing of “Butterfly Net.”
Brighde Chaimbeul’s earthy bagpipe flourishes in multiple songs, and fellow artists Dido and Grimes collaborate in the fluttery “Fly to You.”
While instrumental sharpness singles her album out, Polachek’s lyrics elevate the romantic effect, either with magical realism, cheeky puns or plain desire. Throughout, Polachek captures love’s shape-shifting essence.
Polachek has been charging forward with her own sound, and this album proves her timeless relevance. — Amancai Biraben, Associated Press
The band Tennis started at sea.
Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley formed the musical collaboration in 2010 while on an extended sailing trip. The alt-pop duo has since remained fiercely independent. On its sixth album, “Pollen,” it continues to chart its own course. The nine meticulously crafted pop songs come across light and breezy, but Tennis rewards a close listen by juxtaposing its smooth sounds with biting lyrics and clever instrumental detail.
On “Pollen,” Tennis moves away from the DIY sound of its early albums and leans hard into a glossy pop. The release is peppered with a broad variety of influences, including ’60s girl-group vocals, ’70s glam guitar punches and synthy ’80s keyboards. Other acts such as Beck and Weezer present retro sounds with a dose of irony. Tennis plays it straight with earnest curation of classic and contemporary sounds.
As a married couple, the duo falls well outside the rock star lifestyle. Tennis’ previous outing, “Swimmer” (2020), explored themes of long-term companionship. “Pollen” continues the domestic introspection, but with a turn toward restlessness and mortality.
The song “Let’s Make a Mistake Tonight” channels early Madonna, like a return to “Holiday” that has been slightly slowed and weighted by the potential consequences of a night of carefree abandon.
“Pollen Song” sits at the album’s emotional and musical core. The sunny acoustic guitar belies Moore’s melancholy delivery of the lyrics, “Don’t know when my body became so fragile/ Even a spring rain is too much to handle.” — Jim Pollock, Associated Press
“Lost Voices” features new songs written
in the past tense and serves as an engaging soundtrack to neglected chapters in American history.
The album comes from the formidable singerstoryteller team of Tim Stafford, best known for his work with the bluegrass band Blue Highway, and Thomm Jutz, a classically trained native of Germany whose music is classically Americana.
Stafford and Jutz sought to bring to life forgotten voices, among them a vaudeville star, Appalachian women, Navajo code talkers and Black baseball barnstormers. There’s an ode to trees and a lovely spiritual, while morality tales of an outlaw and a family feud litter the lyrics with bodies.
Stafford and Jutz pair carefully crafted images and details with equally vivid melodies. While a few songs feature a full bluegrass combo, the duo’s handsome, intertwined vocals and acoustic guitar work carry the set as it explores a variety of styles.
“Lost voices can’t be heard until we set them free,” Jutz sings on the title cut. Mission accomplished.