Mike Polizze - Long Lost Solace Find Music Album Reviews

The Purling Hiss frontman teams with producer Kurt Vile for a record of simple folk songs pairing blissful sounds with plainspoken sentiments.

Mike Polizze’s music used to feel like a secret. Public Service Announcement, the 2010 breakthrough from his project Purling Hiss, was classic rock as heard leaking from someone else’s earbuds, anthems that disintegrated into noise as soon as you started humming along. Polizze wasn’t the only artist testing the limits of scuzzy production at the time, but his interests seemed deeper than a mere aesthetic. Through the following decade, his follow-up releases found him cleaning up his sound and sharpening his songwriting, but he still maintained a distance through foggy melodies that swerved and plunged like question marks.
It was Polizze’s former bandmate Kurt Vile who heard Public Service Announcement and convinced Polizze to bring his music on the road with an actual band. Ten years later, he makes a similar suggestion as the producer of Long Lost Solace Find, the first album credited to Polizze as a solo artist. Along with engineer Jeff Zeigler (of the War on Drugs), Vile and Polizze recorded the album in their native Philadelphia, and it’s a record defined by closeness: simple folk songs that present Polizze and his acoustic guitar with the kind of intimacy we expect from rock acts going solo. Tonally, it exists somewhere between the hungover campfire songs of J. Mascis’ solo albums and the starkly drawn alt-rock of Greg Sage’s Straight Ahead. It is more straightforward than any of Polizze’s previous albums but no less evocative.

Nearly every song on Long Lost Solace Find opens with a bright major chord, and most of them spend their runtimes lingering in the light it offers. Polizze plays most of the instruments himself, and Vile shows up in the margins with subtle background vocals, slide guitar, harmonica, and, at one point, trumpet. They are natural collaborators; listening to this record can sometimes feel like an extension of both the softer points of Purling Hiss’ discography and the bleary universe of Vile’s own records. Like Vile, Polizze writes lyrics as if he’s muttering them to himself, even when he’s gesturing toward something universal. And if his language rarely feels bold on its own, it does establish an undeniable mood paired with such laid-back music. “Rest assured, enjoy the ride,” he sings in the closing track, and it is the bemused tone of someone confident in where they are going.

Polizze spends much of the album pondering love, but highlights like “Wishing Well” and “Eyes Reach Across” communicate less on the lyric page than they do in his delivery: an effortless speak-sing over gentle strumming and plucked guitar solos. It flows like a well-conceived song cycle and moves gracefully from one thought to the next. In the instrumental “D’Modal,” whose title could be a reference to a feel-good Led Zeppelin hit or his own guitar tuning, Polizze offers a groovy reprieve that segues into the twilight visions of “Sit Down.” In that song, he describes sunlight as “laser beams through my hair,” which seems like a good summary of the world he builds through songs: intimate, warm, a little uncanny.

The sound of the record approaches bliss: the sonic equivalent of a beer on the beach at sunset. But Polizze’s thoughts don’t always follow him there. The narrative in mid-album highlight “Do Do Do” seems fairly bleak: a plainspoken survey of getting older and playing in a band, pledging to change your self-destructive ways before they harden into habits. Kind of a drag. But every time the chorus hits, he ascends into a wordless refrain, echoed by an acoustic guitar stuck on the most amiable notes of a solo, repeated over and over again. It’s a palpable uplift from each verse, and it goes on maybe a minute longer than expected. This is not just the sound of Mike Polizze opening up; he’s inviting you in.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

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Mike Polizze - Long Lost Solace Find Music Album Reviews Mike Polizze - Long Lost Solace Find Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Thursday, August 06, 2020 Rating:

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