January 24 at Lille Vega
Synth pop dreamers Polica had a solid if underwhelming debut on Danish soil last summer when they performed at a steamy Lille Vega. Wind the clock forward and plummet down the temperature gauge a good 30 degrees and the Minneapolis quintet are back in town, this time around having grown musically over the past half a year or so.
A welcome blast of brooding bass served by Marijuana Death Squads, the industrially inclined, R&B-influenced warm-up act, breathed life into a frozen audience that quickly warmed to the evening's entertainment. Whilst solid in their performance, the Death Squads were perhaps too hefty a cocktail to start the night off with, as their high pitch frequencies tore into the thin evening air with a menacing vengeance.
Polica pranced elegantly onto the scene and tamed the chaos, driving home coaxing, organic-sounding synth pop that highlighted the best of lead singer Channy Leanagh's vocal talents against a backdrop of heavier sounds. From time to time she did sound slightly at sea in the waves of instrumentation, but it was certainly an improvement on Polica's last appearance at the same venue.
Leanagh's charm is by and large her greatest asset as a performer and this was ultimately what allowed her to gain the respect and attention of the begrudging audience who fronted their usually icy first impression upon Polica's stage emergence.
Songs off 2012 album Give You The Ghost were the order of the day, performed with flair, fluency and a remarkably quick wit. The highlight of this was signature track 'Dark Star’, a number that encapsulates all that is good about Polica: Leanagh’s soft vocals over a firm foundation of synth pop brilliance that sparkles with flares of distant melancholia and elation in equal measure.
The audience warmed to Polica as the show neared its conclusion, charmed no doubt by the quick wit of Leanagh, who reinforced her performance with short bursts of creative banter in between songs. After a short, swift encore Polica exited the stage as they had come, humbly pleased with a good performance on the night. Though just shy of a five star rating, it is pleasing to note how much the band have grown in just six months and fair to expect even better from them in the future.