Polytechnic: Down Til Dawn
Fledgling Mancunians’ Americana twitter doesn’t make Ivy League
Biblical scholars believe that a lost verse of the Book Of Revelations told that, just before the Four Horsemen turn up, ‘a band of Dixie devils disguised as Manc student hippies will rise up, making the sound of Grant Lee Buffalo gang-raping Clap Your Hands behind a steakhouse’. Well, we restocked the NME Armageddon bunker last summer when Polytechnic’s ‘Man Overboard’ single arrived: Lancashire-via-Tulsa sandswept cowboy pop? Was there tumbleweed scuttling across the desert wastes of Wythenshawe as we spoke?
Not the end of the world, perhaps, but the end of all certainty that every guitar band rehearsing within 50 miles of Piccadilly Circus can be classed as ‘epic indie’ or ‘dance rock’. But with debut album ‘Down Til Dawn’, the Polytechnic recipe seems akin to a college-rock exchange where Nebraskan twanging spends a gap year with funky-drummer Manc indie, and produces an unchallenging hybrid. Beyond the hell-for-leather stampede through Dan Sartain’s house that is ‘Bible Stories’, the epic ghost-shanty brilliance of ‘Man Overboard’ and the ace pop of ‘Pep’, ‘Cold Hearted Business’ and ‘Won’t You Come Around?’, ‘Down Til Dawn’ ploughs the same jangly Beatlific furrow forged by The La’s and trodden into a mush by everyone from The Magic Numbers to HAL to The Blinky Blonky Bonzo Snooze La Band.
Oft-inspired, moderately tune-flecked, pleasant in a high-pitched indie strumalong way Polytechnic are, sure. But they’re
short of the Earth-quaking Revelation we ordered.