The Merman/The Pest 7”
Review by Kent Manthie
A truly loud, fast and raw sound, The Poles, who come from Vancouver, B.C., Canada, are breaking in by busting through the front door, so to speak. This self-released seven-inch that has just been put out, 1). “The Merman 2). “The Pest”, is a good sneak-preview of what’s to come for these West-Coast of Canada rockers. Vancouver’s supposed to be a cool place to live, great weather, great people, laid-back lifestyle and pretty modern as well, that I’m surprised there’s not a bigger music scene there, at least past the local legends, etc.
Anyway, the first cut, “The Merman” starts out with a loud, “hey man, dig me!” kind of vibe. In fact, in a weird kind of way, their deconstructed methods and fierce independence reminded me a bit of early Sebadoh/Sentridoh, before, uh, Bakesale, I’d say (Lou Barlow may have been the critics’ darling and is a good musician/songwriter, etc, but it was Eric Gaffney that really gave the early stuff much more of an edge than their latter stuff, after Gaffney left the band).
“The Merman” keeps on going too; even though The Poles have a kind of hardcore dynamic, their songs aren’t all 2 minute musical manifestos. Instead, they put more into each song – strong production values abound, for one thing, I might add (not too “studio”, though; not taking away from the edgy, raw power of their sound, but just a clean background, not hissy or over-distorted. “The Merman” runs just over four minutes and “The Pest” is four minutes.
Some critics might just write this off, regarding it as angry, wired, raucous, riot-inciting neo-punk, but I think that’s too easy to do. One must, first of all, know how this stuff relates to other like-minded bands, stuff from back in the early 80s: original hardcore/punk stuff and learn to discern the quality from the quantity in the good writing abilities vs. hard, fast and lots of songs, crash & burn mentality.
I’m really quite intrigued now, to hear what’s in store for The Poles – are they working on a full-length? Have they been touring around? How wide a radius from home do they tour? (Here’s a hint: come down to Southern California!) Can’t wait to hear what a long-form CD by The Poles will be like. I just hope that sometime soon SOMEONE gets around to putting biographical stuff on the internet and get The Poles (the Vancouver Poles, not the North Carolina Poles-whom I’ve never heard of) on there so word can spread through the web community.
Well, but for right now I’m happy enough with what I’ve got – but with the expectation that mores-a-comin’. I also LOVE the DIY approach to releasing your albums on your own and having to deal w/your own distribution, etc. It’s more satisfying to be responsible for all that stuff to get your band up and running. If The Poles did get with an indie label, I’d hope it’d be with a small-time, “do-whatever-you-like” type of label.
All right, then – check The Poles out – and then, spread the word! Write things up on your blog, tell a friend, etc. For now, the only place I can direct you to for any word about The Poles is Bandcamp.com. -KM.