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We get a lot of records sent to us here at The A.V. Club. Fortunately, we end up liking some of them. In Playlisted, we share our latest recommendations.
Album: Give You The Ghost by Poliça (out now on Totally Gross National Product)
Press play if you like: Gayngs; Sade at its most downbeat and abstract; TV On The Radio’s sexiest, most R&B-like songs; doin’ it
Some background: Poliça is the latest art-R&B project from Minneapolis musician and producer Ryan Olson, and it works a vein of dark-hued grooves and sluggishly propulsive beats similar to Olson’s work overseeing Gayngs’ 2010 debut Relayted. But where Gayngs occasionally skirted irony as it piled on sax solos, bump-and-grind beats, and layers of soft-rock lushness, Poliça plays it straight on Give You The Ghost, with a lean, tightly coiled sound that comes on like an atmospherically funky film score from a lost ’80s erotic thriller. With the bass and synth lines keeping the rhythm, the jazzy drumming sends the music off in unpredictable directions, giving songs like the raging “Violent Games” and shuffling “Form” an insatiable creep that slowly grows unsettling. Tying the music together is charismatic singer Channy Leaneagh, formally of the Twin Cities band Roma di Luna, whose voice is double-tracked and warped into different shapes and spirits. With Gayngs, Olson took his large army of collaborators and manipulated their contributions so it all sounded like one big stew; on Give You The Ghost, he’s gone the other way, taking one woman’s voice and turning it into a group of opposing personalities battling inside one psyche.
Try this: Give You The Ghost sounds like it was conceived as a true album, with the songs coming together to form a unified mood over the course of 11 tracks. But the single “Lay Your Cards Out” does stand out as the most accessible make-out jam among many make-out jams.