When I first caught Polar Front at last years Swindon Shuffle Festival in the compact and bijou surroundings of The Beehive, they were a fledgling band taking their first steps. The sound in their heads was only just making itself known in their live performance, but the impression that they left on me more than anything else that day was one of great potential and an unwritten promise. Today they have delivered on that promise.
After a year that has seen them constantly up their game, deal with a thinning of the ranks, have their music used in a national advertising campaign and receive both celebrity and industry endorsements, Eye To Eye sees them finally arrive. Glitchy vocals kick off a song built on a slow burning dynamic where atmosphere and haunting technological textures are laid down before the band finally goes for it, weaving their way between soaring highs and shimmering subtleties.
Polar Front is the sound of today, a merging of traditional playing and tech savvy studio creation, cool yet commercially viable, elegant and soulful, pop music for people bored with the mainstream offerings. But the more I listen to this, the more I hear an unexpected spectre flitting, half hidden, through the song, an intangible quality that I can only sum up as sounds from a parallel universe where Portishead had eschewed a life invented trip-hop and instead dedicated themselves to subverting the cause of rock music. Well, whatever next? Frankly I can’t wait to find out.