Radar Band Of The Week No: 87 – ‘Polica’

Ghostly, R&B-tinged bedroom jams dreamt up in the very dead of night


In the cold small hours of the morning, emotions become exaggerated and the dawn light has a weird, bewitched beauty. That feeling suffuses the music of Poliça, the Minneapolis band who’ve been tipped by everyone from Jay-Z and Kanye to Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, and who took this year’s SXSW by quiet storm. Formerly of folky types Roma Di Luna, Channy Leaneagh found herself writing in a very different vein following the birth of her child.

“I didn’t have much time except maybe late at night,” she explains, “writing just on the computer. I’m a bit of a clichéd artist where every time can be a difficult time. I tend to always draw on the darker side of things… just trying to make sense of myself and the world around me.” Channy took her intense, personal songs to Ryan Olson, Minneapolis scene kingpin and her bandmate in Gayngs.

He provided beats that fit exactly with Channy’s idea of where she wanted to take this new sound (they’re big fans of ghostly future R&B and dark hip-hop like The Weeknd, Frank Ocean and Shabazz Palaces), and were joined by Chris Bierden on bass and Drew Christopherson and Ben Ivascu on drums.

The songs that make up debut album ‘Give You The Ghost’ were recorded last May in Ryan’s bedroom (a studio to many in Minneapolis) in a similar witching hour-way to how they were written. “It was a heatwave, and we didn’t have any air conditioning, and it was recorded at two or three in the morning until the sun came up, so there’s a kind of out-of-mind feel to it,” explains Channy.

Out of mind, perhaps, but The xx-ish, intense ambience is still very human, with Channy’s auto-tuned vocals at the heart of the almost trip-hoppy, double-drummed rhythm of the songs. “I want people to feel a load lifted, like they can kind of go inside themselves and escape a little bit and also gain some new perspective, and feel good, even if it’s a difficult feeling,” she explains. We’re of the impression it’ll look even better in the actual light of day, but for now, we’re enjoying Poliça’s 3am eternal.
Emily Mackay

Need To Know

Based: Minneapolis
For fans of: The Weeknd, The xx
Buy it: ‘Give You The Ghost’ is out April 30
See them live: They hit CAMP in London on June 6 and 7
Believe it or not: Channy’s other great love is dancing – she took lessons from the age of four. She’s also trained in classical violin. Bloody show off

This article originally appeared in the April 21st issue of NME

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