Since their inception in 2010, Polyphia have proven to be an ever-moving entity; one that is hugely (and purposefully) hard to pigeonhole, even across the duration of each album. Armed with potent musicianship across the board, the band have ever expanded their sound from their early days culminating currently to a cauldron of styles and tones across. It is likely you will hear this about many artists but it is a sentiment that reigns entirely true on Remember That You Will Die (Rise Records).
With very few songs containing vocals (and even these with hugely different guest spots), this is an album where the music is often the primary and fully driving force and therefore truly showcases the diversity. Album opener ‘Genesis’, for example (featuring Brasstracks) brings to mind a soulful hip-hop / jazz blend complete with brass instrumentation. In contrast the following ‘Playing God’ firstly appears more stripped back, largely using flamenco style guitar work which quickly reveals a dizzying intricacy throughout.
The first use of vocals appears in previous single ‘ABC’ where singer Sophia Black leads on what will prove a curveball to those following the band’s career, with such a prominent and hook laden vocal performance which would not sound out of place amongst contemporary pop music, albeit with some energetic instrumentation beneath the surface.
The likes of ‘Memento Mori’ and ‘Fuck Around And Find Out’ feature MC’s and a fully driven hip-hop approach but even do so differently to one another; ‘Memento Mori’ featuring a more soaring delivery from Killstation whilst $not is comparatively confrontational on ‘FAAFO’. The penultimate track ‘Bloodbath’ will raise a lot of attention however, featuring the ethereal vocal delivery of one Chino Moreno which adds an emotive weight to a song that matches with arguably the heaviest guitar passages and drumming on the entire album.
More so than on any previous work of theirs, Remember That You Will Die utilises a wide palette of ideas throughout and whilst taken individually these are largely captivating and, importantly, fun, it does mean there is a lack of cohesion throughout the album which will be a drawback to many but at the same time could be the intention. Ultimately the band should be applauded for their taking of risks regardless, and thankfully for the most part this truly works in its own ways.
Buy the album here: https://www.polyphia.com/
6 / 10