lunedì 21 giugno 2010

Polak "Swansong"

Dopo tre magnifici singoli (dei quali solo l'ultimo verra riproposto in Swansong), raccolti in "3x3", i Polak dei fratelli Fijalkowski arrivano all'album di debutto, ed è incanto.
Il senso di malinconia, smarrimento, solitudine propri di alcune pagine degli Adorable (penso a Summerside ad esempio), si ritrovano anche in questo disco, nel quale ovviamente non troveremo le chitarre brucianti del vecchio gruppo di Piotr, ma un suono più riflessivo e intenso, capace di portare oscurità ma anche forti bagliori accecanti alla nostra anima. La voce è quella di sempre, piena, incisiva, "nostro favourite fallen idol" è tornato, e per lui un piedistallo e un tappeto rosso a casa mia non mancheranno mai. (2000 One Little Indian)

The dissolution of British band Adorable was a sad event for fans of '80s rock -- the band carried on the tradition of such great bands as Psychedelic Furs and the Jesus and Mary Chain while adding a terrific sense of song and lyric writing (courtesy of singer Pete Fijalkowski). Shortly after that band's breakup, though, Fijalkowski formed Polak, which released several singles sporadically but waited until 2000 to put together Swansongs, its ironically titled debut album. While it's a decent effort, Swansongs has little of the majesty that made Adorable's records so timeless and great. It still has Adorable's sound, not to mention Fijalkowski's unmistakably desperate voice, but Swansongs' songs just aren't quite up to his old band's (or even this band's) earlier material. That said, Swansongs does have undeniable moments of excellence, including the shimmering "Impossible" and the sly, slower "Gutter Song." As a debut, it's not bad -- and certainly no reason to write Polak off -- it's just not up to this band's (or its singer's) hearty potential. (Josh Modell -

Unbeknownst to many, Polak's group leader, Pete Fijalowski, was once a member of a band who were set to take the Britpop scene by storm. Whilst their contemporaries Suede and Verve eventually did, the band Adorable were consigned to the dust heap, their short legacy apparently forgotten forever. That was until this debut effort from Polak which builds up a smoky atmosphere of misery and tension. Fijalkowski voice sounds bitter with experience as he meanders his way through a predominately slow-paced route of urban decay. The standout track is undoubtedly 'Tracer' which builds up slowly and eventually reaches a crescendo of guitars; it deserves to be a hit. Nothing else quite matches that on 'Swansongs', the remainder is too slow and not immediate enough to grab the ear of disillusioned teenagers. However, it is an album of some merit because efforts like 'Gutter Song', 'Impossible' and 'Shipwrecked' exude a lazy charm sounding like Echo And The Bunnymen's earlier, less orchestrated work. Polak could be a band to watch on this performance. (

"This could be the very last thing that you hear from me," Pete Fijalkowski sings in the opening and closing lines of Polak's Swansongs. And, well, it probably wouldn't make much of a difference to the music-buying public, who's largely unaware of the latest project from the former lead singer of Adorable, a pretty-good early '90s Britpop outfit largely unheard in the United States.
Swansongs contains some pretty decent tunesmanship, but doesn't exactly set the world on fire. Starting off strong with the aforementioned "Last Thing," the album keeps up its punch while heading into "Tracer," one of the album's strongest tunes.
Electric piano and quiet guitar medleys lay a perfect backdrop for Fijalkowski's low, half-spoken vocals. Analog beeps add a floaty, atmospheric ambiance. But when Fijalkowski lets loose and starts to sing, he gets into trouble as he wrestles with the high notes. This sort of thing has been done before — and better, too — by the likes of Suede's Brett Anderson, Pulp's Jarvis Cocker and, hell, even Blur's Damon Albarn. In fact, that's the general rule of Swansongs: As long as Fijalkowski sticks within a few-note range, it's an effective, low-key Brit album about alienation and urban loneliness, the sort of thing Brit groups generally do well with.
Swansongs has plenty of moments for those who like this sort of thing, be it the crackling electricity of the untitled sixth track, or the uplifting, ballady "Impossible," which might have made the cut for the High Fidelity soundtrack had the movie based on English author Nick Hornby's novel set in England actually been made in England.
As for the rest of Swansongs, well, if it weren't for Polak's pseudo-eligibility for the Pollack Frolic (see below), you'd probably still not have heard from Fijalkowski. While songs like "Tracer" and "Hang Up" are pretty well crafted and should appeal to fans of the genre, the album holds up better as background listening than as the sort of thing on which you concentrate. Still, there's enough here to make future Fijalkowski efforts worth keeping an eye on. We'll keep you posted. (Eric Wittmershaus -

- Last Thing
- Tracer
- Nobody's Cowboy Song
- Gutter Song
- Storm Coming
- Impossible
- Love In Reverse
- Shipwrecked
- Hang Up


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