Polyrock - Changing Hearts (1981)

Posted by Amelia Swhizzagers On 1:48 AM

Changing Hearts improves slightly on the band’s debut by opening the sound up with guitars to breathe a little freer. The compact arrangements, fast rhythms and repetitive melodies remain, but the end result is more varied and more fun. “Like Papers on a Rock” and a cover of The Beatles’ “Rain” are two of the album’s better tracks, and both show the band’s willingness to try something different. In trying to find a parallel for this music, I still struggle to get unstuck from Polyrock’s idiosyncratic sound; Wall of Voodoo mostly comes to mind. As with their debut, roughly half of the songs are instrumentals. That doesn’t cost the record the momentum you might think, though trying to distinguish between a “Slow Dogs” and “Hallways” could hurt your brain. In the field of alternative rock circa 1981, Polyrock fell on the artistic side of the fence. Their melodies are actually meticulous textures, crafted to achieve correct angles like a sonic sculpture. Presumably, that was the Glass influence at work, though the pop market was never going to accept a Glass factory the way they did Warhol’s tenants. The Heads’ success, which Polyrock might have shared, was predicated on the band’s energy as much as their strangeness. Watching David Byrne sing was like watching James Brown; you kept waiting for the guy to hit the wall and collapse. Polyrock never generated that kind of energy; perhaps they were too rigid. It’s the same reason why Utilitarianism never caught on, I suppose; it just wasn’t “sexy” enough. Changing Hearts may not be a sexy record, but it’s fundamentally sound as an amalgam of art and rock, perhaps reason enough to place Polyrock on a tiny pedestal of their own
1. Changing Hearts
2. Love Song
3. Quiet Riot
4. Cries & Whispers
5. Mean Cow
6. In Full Circle
7. Like Papers on a Rock
8. New U.S., The
9. Slow Dogs
10. Hallways
11. Rain

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