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Polar Extremes - Album Review: Strange Visions 1

25 Feb 2019 // A review by florencecohen

Polar Extremes has nicely packaged your worst fears in their latest album Strange Visions 1. Haunting depictions of the end of the world, madness, sadness and wasted time. But it’s not an album about the apocalypse – it’s about selfishness. The lyrics, however, are not the first thing you notice on Strange Visions 1 – but you do notice something isn’t quite alright.

The first time around, all I noticed was the funk. These guys know how to incorporate that mid-2000's Kiwi soul vibe with strong pop, and slam dunk it with pert hip-hop. The tunes were rich, different and long enough for me to run to. Strange Visions 1 became my new favourite running album.

Almost immediately I was in love with Captain’s Zodiac’s Dictionary. The contrast of anxious, Python-esque voice-over by Quaint, and the layered, chilled-out beats created the over-excited track I needed to pick out the first time around. Without really listening to the lyrics, I was hooked. I never noticed they mentioned politics, economics and religion. It was an easy ride, that first time around.

But after listening to Strange Visions 1 for a few days (and having a few strange visions of my own) I felt there was something hiding underneath the excited outer layer I had been noticing. And that’s when I really noticed Stress. Maybe it was mentioning Clonazepam, or maybe "the free steak knives", but finally I felt I had broken through the barrier into this album – I was in this world. And technically, it was my world too.

I had a few seizures while listening to this album. It reminded me a lot of epilepsy - how you can be aware of your surroundings but similarly be completely absent at the same time. Hearing Quaint’s voice (especially on A Limited Time Only in particular) is soft, caring and a little pressured – it was the voice I didn’t want to help me through, but it was the voice I desperately clung to.

Strange Visions 1 is a good album, regardless of the lyrical content. The mix of chilled beats, quick moments of pop and nostalgic Kiwi hip-hop take charge, and the fusion makes for an easy listen. However, on some level I feel that the most powerful part of this album is the lyrical content – mostly unknown until a listener really becomes a firm fan. Quaint tells us how we should feel about our place in society. The struggle here, is in the listener’s hands – will you accept what Quaint has decided for you?

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )

About Polar Extremes

Evolving over many incarnations, the eclectic revolving line-up of Polar Extremes has featured various Wellington musicians - rallying around the eccentric auteur 'Quaint'.

Recently releasing the long-awaited debut album The Strange Visions of Emmanuel Shifte, Part One - The Beast Of Many Heads, the band is preparing to gig extensively.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Polar Extremes


Strange Visions 1
Year: 2019
Type: Album

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