The crowd that had gathered at Nick and Eddie on Sunday for the debut of Polica, the new band led by Channy Moon Casselle of the recently split Twin Cities favorite Roma di Luna, was teeming with excitement. The little that has been heard of Polica so far on the band's website is as promising as a Ryan Olson-produced project could sound: Auto-Tuned majesty, with a heavy bassline and a sexy, lonely rhythm. It is Gayngs featuring Channy, essentially, and without the whole '70s-bedroom vibe.
The band--which includes Channy, Olson, Chris Bierden (Vampire Hands) on guitar and backup vocals, and Drew Christopherson (Digitata) and Ben Ivascu (STNNNG) on drums--took up the small stage at Nick and Eddie with very little ceremony and began to play. The audience was glaringly intent on the set from the beginning, shuffling inside from the alley and crowding around the stage, letting themselves absorb the brand new music.
One of the most powerful elements of Channy's voice--easily one of the most distinguishable and incredible instruments in Minneapolis, or in any music anywhere--is the delicacy she manages to maintain even when she is belting out lyrics. It's in part what made Roma di Luna so brilliant, and it's also why the first few songs Polica performed live were met with silence and caution; Channy's voice might be above Auto-Tune and vocoding. Why mar something that is so unequivocally gorgeous in its natural form?
But a few songs, and that was it. By the time Channy sunk her teeth into the haunting "Dark Star," one of the two tracks released on Polica's website, the crowd was nodding, moving, cheering, feeling themselves being enveloped by the music. Polica is irresistible. There is such a desolation in the rise of Channy's voice as she matches the pulse of the drums, the heat of the guitar, that some of Polica seems like what music sounds like in a post-music world. Polica is more than a Gayngs prom, larger than heartbreak, deeper than space and sound. That may sound reaching, it may be too soon to call it, but as the crowd watched on, there was this palpable feeling that we were all witnessing something that wouldn't be secret much longer--an electric feeling that Polica would not go unnoticed. There was a solemnity that was shared as audience members nodded wordlessly at each other, as if agreeing on the sensation.
Polica's next few shows take them out east, where they will be opening for three dates of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah's tour--including, incredibly, a sold-out show at the Bowery Ballroom in NYC on September 20 that will be only their fourth public appearance as a band. They will also join Clap Your Hands Say Yeah in Washington, DC on September 17, Boston on September 19, and Philadelphia on September 21.
Check out more photos of their debut show by Ben LaFond:
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