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Album Review: Polar Bear Club - Clash Battle Guilt Pride

'Clash Battle Guilt Pride.' Other than being just a seemingly random collection of words, this is also the title to the third album from Rochester, New York’s Polar Bear Club. It also happens to be the band’s most evocative and powerful effort since their EP. Whilst ‘Chasing Hamburg’ and its predecessor ‘Sometimes Things Just Disappear’ were top-of-the-game albums, ‘Clash Battle Guilt Pride’ takes the quality level up one more notch.

The album is book-ended by two of the most epic songs Polar Bear Club has ever penned. ‘Pawner’ is the perfect opener to the album, and is one of those tracks that has the ability to send a shiver down the spine. Relying heavily on the impressive voice of singer Jimmy Stadt, it’s unlike anything the band has done before. It’s not until the final third of the song that any real instrumentation kicks in. In a similar fashion, closer ‘3-4 Tango’ is also not your typical Polar Bear Club tune. Musically it is a sprawling, epic song, drenched in the emotion supplied by the power of Stadt’s vocals, as he almost narrates the song. The two songs in tandem really accentuate how much the band is starting to shine.

Those of you that are anxious about the distinct lack of the ‘p’ word so far fear not, as the album is still full of punk energy and post-hardcore sounds that you’ve grown to love. ‘Killin’ It’ and ‘Screams In Caves’ that featured on the single release are the kind of anthems that will have you croaking along instantly, while ‘Bottled Wind’ and ‘Religion On The Radio’ have the same energy and anthemic qualities, but build on the overall sound.

Polar Bear Club have a real sense of honesty about what they do. You don’t merely believe that the band can reproduce the sound on the record in a live setting, you know it. Not only that, but you believe every word Jimmy Stadt sings, which is what makes this album so good. The songs seem to focus on the vocals and lyrics more than they ever have, and this is a good move.

‘Clash Battle Guilt Pride’ has set the bar for bands of this ilk, as far as song writing goes. Some may not find it as instant as its predecessors, but this album isn’t about a short buzz; it’s about subtle brilliance and continued momentum. Not only is this album great, it may well prove to be pivotal.


'Clash Battle Guilt Pride' is out now on Bridge Nine Records.

Dan Issitt

Alter The Press!