On the third album from the St. Petersburg trio, Polyenso, Year of the Dog finds them stretching the boundaries of their already dynamic sound on this experimental EP. Polyenso are on the brink of something remarkable here on this release. If you can tune into the world of this band and lose yourself in the music, you’re in for a treat.
The opener, “Neon Mirror,” features a cool loop of string elements and thunderous piano strokes to enhance the meaning behind each thoughtful lyric. Front-man and keyboardist Brennan Taulbee sings on the opening verse, “What happened to people?/Happened to mingling outside mirrors?/And half of its lethal, and half of it’s made up crossed hatched people/It ruins my affection/through pictures and projections/of mirrors and reflections of neon colored sections.” This type of insightful reflection of how technology has gotten in the way of our well-being and finding the best part of ourselves tends to be more difficult than it had been in the past, and Taulbee is able to sum everything up perfectly. Taulbee and co-vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Alex Schultz harmonize beautifully throughout this great opener.
On the second track, “Bastard,” the band finds themselves reflecting on the world we live in with a leader who tries to change the way we think about things. Polyenso is not buying any of that bullshit that Trump is feeding when they sing, “In a pole against the leaves/like that fucker’s burning dreams/The world was spinning so much faster then/Well all is not lost and art is not lost/You could never change us Bastard.” The defiant spirit to press on and be themselves comes across as very genuine from these talented artists.
“Happy” continues with more self-reflective themes and the struggles with adulthood and responsibility. Taulbee’s careful croon on this track comes through the speakers softly, yet powerful enough to move us to do our own evaluating of our priorities going on in our lives. It’s not always easy to find the silver linings in our lives from time to time, yet the message of hope is prevalent here.
The EP closer, “I Go You Go” features some precise starts and stops beats from drummer Denny Agosto and the time signatures used here are unique, to say the least. Everything falls nicely into place on this song, from the harmonized vocals to the careful placement of guitars, synths or percussion, Polyenso are always in complete control of their sound as the navigate through the track.
Overall, I was very impressed by the song structures and themes found throughout this impressive EP. I look forward to seeing Polyenso grow from this solid release and continue to stretch their listeners’ imagination and insightfulness on future efforts.