Pollens' Debut Album Brighten & Break Is a Lyrical Triumph"/>
No other band in Seattle is doing what this Cornish College-originated sextet is doing, and their debut full-length,>"/>
Pollens, Brighten & Break
No other band in Seattle is doing what this Cornish College-originated sextet is doing, and their debut full-length, a magically transportive swirl of dissonant choral chants, polyrhythmic percussion, and African trance-inspired structures, is a triumph.
The swoony "Splinters & Pointheads," which features vocals that sound like birds and bees flitting and buzzing in one big swarm, is a standout. So is the chirping opener "Helping Hand," on which the rhyme of the lyrics take on a hypnotic rhythm that matches the instrumentation--"If allowed through the thick of them, visions/Make decisions, ritualed repetitions/All the moves a person knows/All the ranks and rows/He suffers blows he's dealt and eats his arrows."
Pollens has a wonderfully poetic way with words. Their songs touch on spiders, birds, lizards, the passing of seasons, moths sleeping on bedposts, creating a mystical natural world; their rhyme schemes roll off the tongue and tie it all together. I particularly love the beautifully lyrical wording on "Without Their Hands":
Like birds make nests without their hands How might we understand? Like edges form unplanned Like form mutates without demand Like thought defies command
How might we understand?
Like edges form unplanned
Like form mutates without demand
Like thought defies command
Pollens plays the Tractor Tavern on Wednesday, November 21 with Bryan John Appleby and Shenandoah Davis. The show starts at 9 p.m.; tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. They'll also be performing in Tacoma on Friday, November 16 as part of the Cathedrals series at the Immanuel Presbyterian Church with Drew Grow & the Pastors' Wives and Goldfinch. Details are on Facebook.