Picks and Pans Review: Above the Fruited Plain
Polyrock, whose 1980 debut album and follow-up were produced by minimalist composer Philip Glass, is a relative old-timer among techno-pop bands. In its early days the band played rhythmically but often with shivering coldness, numbing repetition and, when the musicians deigned to open their mouths at all, wordless, monosyllabic vocals. Since then Polyrock has gotten less techno and more pop, adding vocals with lyrics and melodic hooks to deliver them. The new producer for this third album—a mini-LP with five cuts—is Billy Robertson, Polyrock's guitarist, co-founder and closest-to-the-mainstream performer. Call of the Wild, with a nearly elegant melody smoothly sung by keyboardist Cathy Oblasney and a jutting synthesizer hook, deserves some dance club play. The rest of the LP, though, is lugubrious (Indian Song), treacly (Working on My Love) or pitifully pasteurized. At their worst, synthesizer bands like Polyrock give you a preview of the Muzak of the 1990s.