2 Jul 2015
Polypores "The Edgewoods" EP
Reviewed by Grey Malkin (The Hare & The Moon)
Polypores (the vision and project of Stephen James Buckley) describe their music as 'low-fi sci-fi soundtracks to films that never existed. Advertising music for strange and curious products. Songs from distant radios with broken speakers. The slightly unsettling hum of pylons looming over playgrounds'. These are all apt descriptions for a sound that evokes the sinister, cautionary 1970's British Information Films such as 'Dark, Lonely Water' or 'Apaches' whilst also having a foot in a much more modern, haunted malaise. Following this year's earlier 'Curiosities EP' and 'The Investigation' album comes 'The Edgewoods EP', a spectral, electronic treatise from those liminal spaces where urban concrete meets dark, rustling woodland.
Opener 'The Clinic' has an off kilter warmth that will be familiar to aficionados of the Ghost Box label; the vintage keyboard sounds are comfortably familiar yet there is something unnerving and ominous at the heart of it all. Even the song title merges the everyday with something that suggests sinister goings on. Complex and driving percussion propels the track forward, its analogue melodies at once instantly memorable yet also shiver inducing in their sense of homely dread. Next 'We Assure You That This Is Perfectly OK', with its descending keyboard runs and John Foxx style wall of electric sound, is a tour de force of edgy, ghost filled harmony. Much more instantly dynamic and percussive than contemporaries The Advisory Circle or Belbury Poly, Polypores music adds a more contemporary sheen over the vintage sounds and styles than other purveyors of what has come to be known as hauntology. This is music that floats through the decayed urban air of today as well as all our yesterdays. 'Airfix' is virtually a moog symphony, choral keyboard strings adding a truly epic and orchestral feel to the song. And this music is also hugely affecting; there is an unsettling air here for sure, but also one of melancholy and desperation. This is electronic music made with a human sensibility. 'The Circle' is a carefully layered slice of pure atmosphere that recalls the soundtracks to such 80's TV classics as Ken Freeman's score for 'The Tripods' or John W. Hyde's 'Chocky' whilst 'Wormfarm' is a more reflective tapestry of haunting electronica. For fans of the previously mentioned John Foxx, Jon Brooks work and of acts such as Broadcast, this is essential listening. Finale 'Desire Paths' waves of synth, twinkling piano and insistent percussion leaves us with an almost anthemic work of otherworldly, urban analogue fear and tension. Often artists working within similar fields strip back and minimalise their sound to make it more authentic; Polypores follow their own unique, cracked concrete and leaf strewn woodland path that instead effectively adds more detail and fills out the music with wave upon wave of thrilling electronic dystopia.
You will want to stray from the suburban perimeters of town into the nearby wilds for this one; a highly recommended work of electronic beauty that ably evokes the recent past and also points towards a dark, forbidding future. Available now as a download with 4 excellent bonus tracks for those who pay a small sum of £2 for the EP.