I Am The Polish Army is a Brooklyn-based three-piece led by Emma DeCorsey on vocals and guitar, joined by Eric Kuby on drums, and Turner Stough on the bass. The trio’s debut LP My Old Man comes out tomorrow, and is available to stream today via yours truly. Their sound directly references some of my favorite classic/alt-rock and grunge of yore – styles that are a dying breed in today’s era of high gloss electro and experimental pop, making for a totally refreshing yet ironically nostalgic experience (think if The Breeders and Hole were to join forces and make an album vis-a-vis modern production capabilities.) Emma’s sharp, drone-y vocals cut like a knife through loud, heavy-handed guitar melodies in opening track, “You Don’t Know”, captivating our attention for what they have in store for our ears. As the album unfurls, Charles Burst’s (Neko Case, Psychic Ills, Crystal Stilts) deft engineering behind each track becomes discernible (and is highly appreciated!!). In songs like “David Bowie” – an ode to/lament of erstwhile and dead musical icons – the mix is so perfectly balanced that I found myself easily lost in it, especially toward the end when Emma’s vocal harmonies come in.
Toward the middle of the album on tracks like “Throat” and “Dead Cat”, the band’s emotional energy and fervor reaches a new fever pitch, unexpectedly veering the sound towards a more metal vibe, with propulsive drums and brooding, screeching guitar lines, grafting Emma’s direct and confrontational vocals in seamlessly. “Set Up” surprised me with another directional shift in genre, showcasing way more 70s style guitar melodies that harken back to Grateful Dead or The Who. Yet overall it still emphasizes angsty, derisive lyrics juxtaposed by lush, structured vocal harmonies. I was left feeling delightfully unsettled by this track (and have pretty much decided it’s my favorite on the album.)
“Woods” and “Gene” bring us full circle back to the band’s original musical conceit: solid, mid-tempo rock defined by blistering guitar solos and Emma’s insistent, unwavering voice and sassy lyrics. Title track “My Old Man” is way more stripped down in the opening measures, with a simple bass line and rhythm guitar. As the verse escalates into a more cacophonous chorus, it becomes clear that the story is about a Lower East Side sex predator, making the emotional intensity pack all the more punch, and compelling me to go back and listen more closely to each track to decipher the storytelling behind the album as a whole. This feat alone makes the project a success in my opinion.
I Am The Polish Army will be performing their album release show at the Gutter, tomorrow (3/31), joined by Tuff Sunshine and the Royal They, more info here. In the meantime dive into “My Old Man” below.