I often wonder what would happen should the police one day raid the home of Todd Smith only to discover his copious amounts of notebooks with lyrics and notes which would make even the most ardent of serial killers look like puppy farmers. Whether writing for Dog Fashion Disco, El-Creepo or in this case Polkadot Cadaver you can be sure that as well as the music sounding discordant and threatening, the lyrics and their delivery (whether softly spoken, crooned or barked) will be also disturbing and uncomfortable to boot… and lets face it, that’s what we are here for!
As a fan of all three projects I often find it difficult to determine how any given tune is slotted into which band release (with the obvious exception of El-Creepo which although often as disturbing is for the most part more acoustic in its delivery) as there does often seem quite an overlap in the DFD and Polkadot sounds but that’s no bad thing for me I am voracious in my appetite for anything they can throw at me!
Polkadot Cadaver are a band unashamedly influenced by Faith No More and Mr Bungle but with a distinct fascination of horror and the unnerving combine these elements to create a sound which is truly original today as it was at their inception. It’s difficult to judge a bands creative curve when they truly are completely different to almost every other act that’s out there and its therefore without criticism that I state that ‘Get Possessed’ is another collection of Polkadot tunes which is exactly what you would expect and want from the band. That being said, I don’t want to give the impression that this album is a one trick pony, throughout its ten tracks there is a great amount of variety of tempo and ideas on display, it sounds like a Polkadot album but at the same time sounds like no other Polkadot album…and therein lies its beauty.
From the open we are treated to a slow synth nightmare of sound which would have had horror directors in the 80’s clambering over one another to throw money at the band for its rights (for you millennials think the ‘Stranger Things’ soundtrack) before slowly building into a tension driven headache of a song which reminded me of Dog Fashion Disco’s ‘The Uninvited Guest’. Just as you’re getting uncomfortable ‘Couldn’t Move Far Enough Away’ slams in with a fury of punk/trash driven guitars before dropping back to an electronic and funk driven verse passage, twists and turns abound yet there’s still time for a big sing-along chorus along the way.
‘Powder Pink Baby Coffin’ (Yeah I know?!) mixes an 80’s pop synth with huge sweeping guitar at a vicious tempo which breaks into a goose-bump inducing middle eight which will have the crowd jumping like lunatics should they be lucky enough to catch it live. ‘Robot Assisted Suicide’ starts at a slower pace, building slowly to a crescendo before it’s finish whilst title track ‘Get Possessed’ pummels like a sledgehammer from its outset. The vehemence of the riffs on display here are enough to make Slayer want to hang their heads in shame.
Lead single Brian Eating Amoeba’ deserves special mention, whilst sounding the most Faith No More (Album of the Year era) inspired of the tracks it has a wonderful structure which builds into one of the most gloriously groove laden riffs. It’s a beautiful tune which knows when to leave space and when to pick up the pace and ends perfectly with a haunting and recurrent melody…perfection!
The pace is picked back up again with ‘Stewards of a Syphilitic Emperor’ whilst ‘Cocaine’s Gone, Party’s Over’ shows another great shift in sound as the keys take center stage whilst Todd whispers and croons, this is the closest track to an El-Creepo number. If it wasn’t for the subject matter it would almost sound like a love song… I guess it is of a sort. ‘Skin in the Game’ twists and turns with uncomfortable ease before album closer ‘Gasoline Enema, Bend and Light’ has some massive anthemic elements surrounded by jaded and jagged rhythms…and that’s it, before your brain has even had time to assess the assault it has just had upon it the album is over and you’re reaching for play again…well, I certainly was.
It’s always a pleasure to witness another installment of these guys work and this, as ever, was an absolute delight to listen to and unravel. It’s disturbing, surprising and has complete disregard to any musical ‘rules’ or trends of the moment. Polkadot Cadaver have created yet another slice of insane genius which gives a nod to its long-lost influences whist carrying the torch for music fans happy to step out of their comfort zones. Be sure to get your copy!