Pang – Caroline Polachek
★ ★ ★ ★
It’s safe to assume many people will come to Pang having been fans of Chairlift, Polachek’s former band that dominated the peak blog-era years. Chairlift’s superpower was melody – they wrote huge choruses, but they knew how to contextualise them. They were masters at a ‘tension and release’ approach that added another addictive layer to their melodies. Thankfully, this ability is on full display on Pang. ‘Door’ is practically virtuosic, with the pre-chorus featuring a vocal line that repeats both lyrically and melodically, before giving way to lush, swelling synths and a homely cadence.
Pang is Polachek in full control of her narrative, a blessing/curse that comes with releasing music under her own name. The common thread running throughout is that of confession. ‘Look at Me Now’ sees Polachek at the end of a relationship, struggling to find resilience when she feels like her partner just sees her as “a hand grenade to throw away”. Polachek begs her partner to face her – she’s given up on self-control, but vocally, she’s able to launch from the bottom of her range to the top in an instant and creates a blinding contrast between content and delivery. Polachek carves out hooks and delivers them in a way that no one else could.
Niall O’Shaughnessy – Former Music Editor