Polica Gives MPLS an Autotune up

Breakout local group Polica have kicked off strong, integrating auto-tune into indie-pop.

by Sally Hedberg

WHAT: Polica WHEN: Doors open at 8 p.m., show starts at 9 p.m., Monday WHERE: Turf Club, 1601 University Ave. COST: $6 for advanced tickets, $8 at the door They may not have a released album, but the dreamy electro-fusion of Polica has the attention of Minneapolis. Having played only a handful of shows and with just two tracks available for public listening, theyâÄôve gained impressive hype, capturing second in âÄúPicked to ClickâÄù and securing tour dates with Foster the People. ThereâÄôs a definite element of mystery circling the local buzz band. Any thorough evaluation of the new group has been largely unattainable due to their limited stage appearances. So far theyâÄôve dealt out fragments, but Monday at the Turf Club listeners can decide for themselves. Rebounding from her venerable folk-pop career in Roma di Luna, Polica frontwoman Channy Casselle didnâÄôt really get to ease into her new project. âÄúI try not to expect anything,âÄù Casselle said. âÄúItâÄôs been pretty surprising and overwhelming. I did not know what to think. ItâÄôs been moving at a really fast pace for everyone in the band, but itâÄôs been very positive.âÄù The public reaction has been supportive; a packed Kitty Cat Klub show with rumored Justin Vernon sightings is a testament to that. But whatâÄôs most engaging is the fact that, for Casselle, Polica marks a drastic change in musical approach. Roma di Luna was a band that highlighted the raw beauty of CasselleâÄôs voice. There was never any ambiguity in what she was trying to communicate, what you heard was what you got. The angle Polica takes couldnâÄôt be any more different. The music is darker and bass-heavy. And taking an even bolder turn in the realm of vocals, CasselleâÄôs voice is manipulated through autotune to the point of near incoherency. ItâÄôs a new direction, but itâÄôs intriguing, giving depth to her music that wasnâÄôt necessarily audible before. âÄú[Autotune] adds a certain amount of intensity,âÄù Casselle said. âÄúItâÄôs just like using a pedal for your guitar, but on your voice. The headspace that IâÄôm in when IâÄôm writing this project, itâÄôs just aesthetically what my ear wants to hear.âÄù ItâÄôs not surprising to hear that the moodier sounds are intentional. Coming from a split with her former bandmate and husband, Casselle acknowledges her forthcoming album as a sort of response to what was going on in her life. âÄúItâÄôs a pretty personal record for me,âÄù Casselle said. âÄúbut everyone involved put in their own stamp. ItâÄôs a strong record about liberation. I hope itâÄôs an album that people will listen to in its entirety.âÄù The framework may have been built by difficult events, but itâÄôs the combination of Ryan OlsonâÄôs (Gayngs, Marijuana Deathsquads) layered, spacy beats with the haunting phrases of CasselleâÄôs melodies that make this group so absorbing. For the time being, their existence is somewhat of a tease. Though the record is finished, the band is still sorting through the subtleties of mastering, album art and determining the best way to release it. The aim is to have it out sometime mid-winter. Until then, theyâÄôll continue to play shows and coast on their âÄúPicked to ClickâÄù glory. âÄúItâÄôs challenging but itâÄôs also very liberating and very stimulating as an artist thatâÄôs trying new things and making music,âÄù Casselle said.