Published Oct 17, 2019You may or may not know Caroline Polachek, but you've definitely heard her music at some point. In 2008, her former band Chairlift rose from the Brooklyn indie scene to the public eye when their hit single "Bruises" became the soundtrack to an iPod commercial. She's credited for writing and production on the song "No Angel," on Beyoncé's award-winning eponymous album, and was equally surprised as the rest of us when it unexpectedly released at midnight. Her dreamy vocals and candy-coated synth textures are showcased in collaborations with the alt-R&B guru Blood Orange and the ever-ascending pop icon Charli XCX.
Now more than ten years since her beginning in the music industry, Caroline Polachek debuts as a solo artist to show the world all that she's got with her heartfelt, alluring, and contagiously catchy new album Pang.
Throughout its half-hour runtime, Polachek alternates gracefully from languorous, reverb-heavy meditations to quirky and upbeat pop. Songs like opener "The Gate" and "Insomnia" showcase Polachek in a more relaxed, contemplative mindset, but things start to heat up later on with "So Hot You're Hurting My Feelings" with its upbeat zest. On "Hit Me Where It Hurts," Polachek hits a special spot between these two extremes, and the result is definitely one of the project's most memorable moments. "Door" has Polachek singing about the disorienting and uniquely human feeling of blindly chasing a desire without knowing whether you will ever reach it.
The album ends with "Parachute," which is slow and reflective, placing listeners back on the ground after repeatedly lifting them up. This feeling only adds to the impressive versatility on Pang. It is great to see Caroline Polachek giving a go at being an independent pop artist, and this album makes it feasible that she one day becomes a household name in the genre. (Perpetual Novice)