POLLY – SLUMP (Album Review)

Kicking the saloon doors off their hinges, Edinburgh ‘Cowboy Grunge’ band POLLY dropped their debut album SLUMP. Living up to our ‘One’s to Watch 2022’ list placement, the band have made a gritty sound scape filled with ace-high riffs and epic movie tension.

Admittedly ‘Cowboy Grunge’ sounds an odd way to describe a band on the surface, but Scottish band POLLY’s new album SLUMP is the epitome of this term. Filled with all the tension, action and emotion of a Sergio Leone classic, POLLY infuse inspiration from spaghetti western sound tracks with guitar rock to form an impressive genre crossing sound that infusing hoof beating rhythms and dirty guitars.

Kicking of as it means to go on, SLUMP starts with ‘IS THIS IT?’. A ballsy move to name the opening track on your debut album after one of the most famous openers in indie rock, but it delivers. Straight out of the gates the bands songwriter Cameron Gorman hit’s with haunting vocal howls over ringing guitars. The album features last years single ‘JUST ASK ME’ and ‘SICK OF THE MAN’ high energy rock tracks with face melting guitars and pounding drums, showcasing what POLLY do best. It’s not all thrashing guitars, ‘BOY, GIRL’, a Sonic Youth style driving force, and ‘8-TRACK’ show the bands sleeker more technical side with real elements of ‘Smashing Pumpkins’. “‘SLUMP’ is to be listened to as a whole. It documents a year in the life of the songwriter, starting hectic and ending with hope.” say the band, and I think that turning point becomes noticeable ‘DYAWANNARUN’, stripped back rock ballad that strums on the soul strings and probably my personal highlight of the album. ‘NO-MAN’ brings up the pace a little, a striking arpeggio the brazen vocals lead into ‘PROJECT 23’, sleek and gritty with some Eddie Vedder vibes in for good measure. Proceedings finish with bass driven title track ‘SLUMP’, it’s reminiscent of an upbeat indie single but still with those wild west vibes, before the closer ‘LETS GRAB A DRINK’, an emotionally driven big finish, clocking in at 4:30 and not the intimidating half hour it appears to be on Spotify, in fact an extra 20-odd minuets of short sound scapes and songs between the silence, like a post-credit scene that’s certainly worth sticking around for. POLLY are a unique band that bring their own style and swagger to their music and SLUMP is a unique album that encapsulates all that they are. At not one point does it disappoint or give away what’s coming next whilst maintaining it’s own type of rugged beauty throughout.

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