By Andrew Dethloff
October 9 -2014—This is not the first time that Poliça has made their way through Houston and if their sold out show and killer performance are anything at all to go by it certainly won’t be the last. The line outside of Fitzgerald’s on the Thursday night they made it into town stretched nearly to the neighborhood behind the venue. A sharp contrast from the first time this music lover caught wind of them at the same venue over three years ago. We caught up with drummer Drew Christopherson and asked if they ever planned on taking music this far, to which he had the most wholesome of answers. They never really planned on it, he says, “but when you work hard at something for a long time, you hope it pays off with good opportunities at some point along the way.” It seems that hope has more than come into the realm of reality. Since that day three years ago, Poliça has massively increased in momentum and it shows in their performance and production.
The trademark twin drummers of Poliça have often been a particular point of interest. Any musicians who may have seen the four-stick flurry or are only just now reading about them may find themselves trying to imagine just how they manage to share the load in writing and playing. We thought to ask the same question and the answer is, it would seem, quite simply. As Christopherson thoroughly explains:
We’ve had projects with multiple drummers for a long time now. It really lets you play with rhythms and dynamics with a lot more control. Especially when working with electronic music, which is much more beat oriented. Layers of beats on top of beats just flat out sounds cool, which is the main reason we ever messed around with multiple drummers in the first place. We try to play to our abilities as best we can. Ben is more capable of playing fast and powerful fills and more abrasive parts, and Drew is more of a back beat type of drummer, so its often times pretty easy to decide who should fill in what areas. It also works itself out pretty well by just letting each other play what comes to mind since both players have pretty different ideas and tastes from the beginning.
Ah! Answers? Demystification? While the reply is heartfelt and makes sense, it does not do much to diminish the mesmerizing quality he and co-drummer Ben Ivascu are able to create on stage.
In a worldwide music scene that is shedding diversity like mad, Poliça is a refreshing dose of originality without approaching a gimmick level. Not to say that the shock factor of seeing two drum kits on stage doesn’t have its perks, but they more than deliver once the music starts rolling. Spacey, monophonic synth backing tracks immediately elicit a feeling of traveling in slow motion through some type of time warp. As Chris Bierden’s fingers bring in expertly crafted, seemingly subsonic bass lines, the mix takes hold deep in the chest. The two drum kits immediately vaporize any gimmick-like thoughts listeners may have retained as Drew Christopherson and Ben Ivascu slide effortlessly in with a minimalism that promises a dynamic explosion in due time. Finally, the haunting, echoing vocals of the stunning Channy Leaneagh float in from what is surely another dimension, she begins to dance and stir the air with the arm not holding the microphone, and the hypnosis truly begins. Leaneagh brings much more than a pretty face to the front of the stage, however. Her talent and lyrics leave her in a position to eat most other female musicians alive. We can expect more good things to come from these guys as Christopherson assures us that they “are about to enter writing and recording mode that will hopefully take [them] through what will surely be another long, cold winter in Minneapolis.”