The Pollies, a quintet from Florence, Alabama, is preparing to release its new record, Not Here, on September 25, 2015 via Single Lock Records/Thirty Tigers. Recorded at Dial Back Sound in Water Valley, Mississippi, and produced by Ben Tanner (of Alabama Shakes) and The Pollies’ lead singer and songwriter, Jay Burgess, the record is the band’s first for Single Lock/Thirty Tigers and the follow-up to their 2012 release, Where The Lies Begin.
This is a mighty fine, genre-defying, progressive southern, grab bag of ear candy. The first song, Jackson, is an early clue that you’re into something good. As a bearded, southern, country-raised social liberal, it makes my heart sing when other southern musicians take up the progressive flag. “I’ve always been into revolutions—more specifically thinking about what things would be like if they hadn’t happened,” Burgess says. “Obviously, a major movement in this country’s history was the Civil Rights movement. I think about how long that effort took and how great the risk was, and it’s amazing to me.” Jimmie Lee Jackson, a church deacon, was beaten and shot to death by Alabama State troopers in 1965 during a peaceful voting rights march. His death was one of the inspirations for the Selma to Montgomery marches. It’s a great sounding song- one of my favorites of 2015, that tells a meaningful story (as an aside, I can’t wait for some southern bands to produce some great songs celebrating the marriage equality victory we joyfully witnessed this year, a movement that traces it lineage back to the Civil Rights movement).
Lost, the second song on the record, has a wonderful 70s-ish, alt. country vibe with some great harmonies. I really dig this song.
The arrangements on this record stand-out, on almost every song. She has a lot going on behind some wistful vocals. A big shout out to whoever played the piano on this record. Very nicely done (as another aside, best piano playing on any record ever? Chuck Leavell on Brother and Sisters).
There’s a lot of range here as well You Are alternates between a garage rock sound and a Cure vibe, and it works. Losers is a rocker that would have fit right in on a dBs record. Lonely Betty sounds like good Ryan Adams.
Like most good records, it changes as you listen to it. Initially, I didn’t think much of Paperback Books, but then later, as the record was playing while I did other stuff, I though “damn, that’s a great song.” Now it’s one of my favorites.
This is predominantly an alt. country record, but it has strong elements of folk rock, alternative rock, and the best parts of modern rock. It’s easy to classify on first listen. But the details blur the genre in a very interesting way.
Whatever you want to call it, this is an excellent record. I put most of the songs in my primary playlist. I suspect you will too. Buy this record when it comes out.