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Album Review

In the wake of a solid music-press buzz, Polara's debut album is as fresh and bracing as a bucket of ice water in the face. It's kind of hard to pigeonhole this band, which is refreshing — part dewy-eyed psychedelic sentimentality ("If you feel it, let it show!," singer Ed Ackerson implores on "Avenue E"), part punky bombast ("Counting Down" features the world's harshest guitar sound) and part gimmicky overkill (check out the voice treatment on "One Foot"), this album has all the offbeat charm of a goofy kid nephew. How do they manage to get such a consistently horrific guitar sound on "Counting Down" and yet make the song itself so pleasant? And how do they deliver those whimsical lyrics without ever sounding hippy-dippy? Polara's home base of Minneapolis has a history of producing weird but lovable bands and personalities (Husker Du, the Replacements, Prince), so this is just one more example of the fact that breeding shows.


Formed: Minneapolis, MN

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Following the dissolution of his retro-pop band the 27 Various, Minneapolis-based singer/guitarist Ed Ackerson formed Polara with Peter Anderson (drums), Jennifer Jurgens (guitar, vocals, organ), and Jason Orris (bass, vocals). Where Ackerson's music once sprung from the inspirations of '60s pop, with Polara he absorbed the influence of '70s Krautrock, layering his melodic songs with keyboards, samplers, and electronics. The group's eponymous debut, issued in 1995, won widespread critical acclaim...
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Polara, Polara
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