Friday, May 8th, 2009

Polarkreis 18 – The Colour of Snow

Never write off the Germans…


Michaelangelo Matos: “Taaaake . . . oooonnnn . . . meeeeee . . .”

Martin Skidmore: AllMusic offers their only influence as Radiohead, but this sounds far more like the great “Take On Me”, if you take out that glorious keyboard riff and substitute a less strong and soulful singer.

Joseph McCombs: More clean, crystalline pop reminiscent of A-ha, only better than previous single “Allein Allein” for its lack of crowd singalong on the chorus: addition by subtraction. Intriguing lyric and a beautiful production.

Edward Okulicz: This sounds exactly like A-ha circa Hunting High And Low; not just in the texture, but in the sense that it’s a high-quality composition worthy of that band’s 80s heyday – or even their unsung 00s revival. Anthemic, swirling chorus? Check. Misty, drizzly doom? Check. Hooks everywhere? You bet. A frozen delight.

Doug Robertson: Wow! Other than a nagging fear that it’s about to turn into a synthpop version of John Farnham’s “You’re The Voice” – a fear which, admittedly, I have on listening to any record for the first time – they really haven’t put a foot wrong here.

Ian Mathers: The combination of the extremely fey lead vocal and the mocking children’s choir during the verse is more than a little creepy, especially as he tells you that you’re back in school and he’s the leader of the children and you’re following his orders. Which is an interesting place for a band that sounds like Cut Copy to go.

Hillary Brown: Frosty version of Black Kids still makes you want to dance your pants off. It’s both dreamily elevated and loins-awakening.

Iain Mew: Whatever Polarkreis 18 claim (with the implied expertise of their name, too!), black is not, in fact, the colour of snow. That’s the only thing they do get wrong in a song that soars like prime Mew and adds cool added beats and cut up voice samples. Crystalline, keening and achingly pretty, in other words.

Dave Moore: Polarkreis, you are SO LUCKY I happened to listen to this on the first day I didn’t need to wear a jacket outside. Indie synthpoppers pretending to be a precocious gang of pseudo-goth kids singing their fave Cure song in drama club did, in fact, make me smile.

Martin Kavka: There’s more than mere imitation going on here, and what I really enjoy about this song is the subtlety of its production. If this were being marketed for American audiences, the electro flourishes and the children’s voices would be moved up to the front of the track, and it would suck. As it is, the track rewards repeated listening, even if the lyrics tend more towards the silly than they do toward the mysterious.

11 Responses to “Polarkreis 18 – The Colour of Snow”

  1. This half-assed nostalgia ranks 10th? For shame.

  2. Sounds like Alphabeat with more synths. I love it!

  3. so does it sound like a-ha then?

  4. how the hell is sounding like a-ha/alphabeat a good thing? god, can’t leave you lot alone for a second without you putting shonky eurocrap into the top 10.

  5. I was going to give it 10, and seeing Lex’s response makes me wish I had! But I couldn’t – their apparent next single sounds even more like Mew (and less like Alphabeat, for what it’s worth) and is even better! This actually reminds me more of the last Kent album but that’s a less-understood reference point than “Take On Me”.

  6. There’s a sense of optimism here that A-ha never had IMO (even in their most upbeat moments like “Take On Me”), perhaps because of Morten Harket’s vocals.

  7. I’m w/ Matos on this. I guess I’m w/ Lex, too, but I empathize 1000% w/ edwardo’s impulse to cheese him off, so maybe not.

  8. Also, I heard the “You’re The Voice” bit in the pre-chorus too but wondered if the song had been a big enough hit outside these parts for people to remember. I see that it was a UK Top 10 hit and preposterously massive in Europe, which I hadn’t realised. Did people know that Heart did a version? It’s very funny. Heart covering this wouldn’t be.

  9. Singer chickens out of the full-blown Farnham, shame. This reminds me of JJ72 if they were from Europe. Not very good at all.

  10. Is that the snow thing or more than that?

    Edward’s comment is enough to have me trying to work out for the first time since MIA. and 2raunwohnung.

  11. I just re-listened to this; I underrated it. It’s a [7].