Listening to the sound of Italian band Polar Station is like waking up in the morning sun. It is warm, perpetually tantalising with just a hint of indefinable intrigue bringing the unknown to the senses and imagination and within their debut album, Lowlands, just captivating.
Hailing from Frosinone, the 2013 emerging quartet consists of Silvia Zambon (vocals / synth / vocoder), Cristian Angelini (guitar), Daniele Gabrielli (synth / programming / FX), and Manuel Bianchi (drums /electronic percussions). The band released two EPs in 2014 and ‘15 respectively which received good praise and attention. Both showed their sound to be a magnetic blend of electronic variety with dream pop sensitivity and magnetism, aspects now colluding to make for one infectious and compelling exploration within Lowlands.
The album opens with the band’s well-received single of last year, What It Feels Like. Vocoder spawned vocals initially lure ears amidst a synth cast crystalline shimmer before the angelic yet earthbound tones of Zambon embrace the senses. Her voice is pure beauty, essences of suggestiveness and melancholy lining its grace and magnetism, the latter a description which perpetually repeats across the whole landscape of the album. The instinctive sway of hips told all about the persuasion of the irresistible encounter, a temptation just as vocal within its successor.
Wake up Call makes a gentler entrance but one just as vibrant, stretching its elements and essence around the golden coaxing of Zambon and elegant melodies from Angelini. The song continues to slowly rise with every second of sound and voice pure sunshine for ears and spirit until finally drifting away into the more industrial lure of Something. Its earthier synth beckoning is soon enclosed in the seduction of Zambon’s vocals, synths and guitar teasing and tempting with melodic enterprise and mystique alongside. Both songs never find the boisterousness of the first yet each provides a sublimely bewitching and individual kiss on the senses and imagination to be just as potent.
Through the creative and emotional drama of Silence and the haunting elegancy of Fragile, the album reveals new shades of sound and light whilst stretching its captivation. The second of the two is a brief almost interlude like moment yet rich in heart and melodic suggestion to be its own potent moment within Lowlands before Ordinary Life dances romantically on ears and thoughts with melodic temptation and electronic delicacy as rigorous in intimation as it is gentle on touch. There is flame to its breath though, heat shaped by the excellent touch of Angelini.
The shadow kissed smoulder of Midnight is equally as romancing on the ear, its dark but radiant layers enthralling under the alluring glaze of Gabrielli’s ever tempting synth while Committed to What provides noir lined atmospherics over an inescapably catchy shuffle pulsing with the creative manipulation of Bianchi. Again both songs bring fresh angles to the sunspot that is Lowlands, each a new transfixing escape.
The album closes out with Golden Flares, a starry serenade of voice and sound with bold strength to its depth and a hint of tempestuousness to its heart. As the album, it is a song which instantly grips attention and appetite but only blossoms to greater heights over time and listen.
Polar Station is a band most likely in the colder reaches of attention for most but after Lowlands could and should be a blaze on the broadest radars.
Lowlands is out now on iTunes and Spotify.
Pete RingMaster 02/05/2018
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