REVIEW: Polar Bear Club – “Clash Battle Guilt Pride”

Polar Bear Club / Clash Battle Guilt Pride / Bring Nine

In their six-year lifespan, the Rochester quintet have never shyed away from tackling recordings with bustling urgency. It’s why there’s comparisons out there to Hot Water Music or hardcore notables Lifetime and it’s also the reason why Polar Bear Club’s third studio fix, Clash Battle Guilt Pride, contains a grizzled punk element that nearly doubles it’s potency thanks to a focus on refining and drawing up a formula that ties anguish and heartfelt moments with pulsating chord riffs and dissecting rhythms that tear at your insides. With assistance from producer Brian McTernan (Hot Water Music, Senses Fail), the group rarely stutter at maintaining momentum, a trait that Chasing Hamburg lacked but sure as hell has stirred up melodic narratives (“Slow Roam”, “3-4 Tango”), surging vocal sways (“Life Between The Lines”) and chipping punches about self-reflection, doubt and the raw shades of life (“Religion On The Radio”).

The fact each of the 11 cuts are instilled with aggression – courtesy of Jimmy Stadt’s distinctive vocal chords – should not be dismissed and neither should their incline to concentrate on breeding more emotional lyrical outbursts. On Clash Battle Guilt Pride, Stadt’s weathered growl has found more comfort in adapting to different tones, adding fuel to the chug of “Kneel On Nails” and “Bottled Wind”. Along with Polar Bear Club, he’s also become more expressive and sincere, divulging about exploring love, coping with conflict and penning influential lines (“Stealing your heart like an old t-shirt / You’ll never throw it away”). Being exposed means you’re vulnerable and wounds can materialize, but for a band like Polar Bear Club, it’s a dare with the chance to hark back to the infancy of mid-nineties Florida punk without transmitting a recycled sound. If the transition between “Pawner” and “Killin’ It” during the opening minutes of Clash Battle Guilt Pride doesn’t prove it to you, they’ve captured that essence.

Download: “Religion On The Radio”, “Screams In Caves”


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