By Steve Scheibal
Poliça draws from many musical worlds without really belonging to any of them.
The Minneapolis group’s melodies are flowing and lovely, but their arrangements are a few degrees of difficulty beyond radio pop. It’s too rocking to be electronica, too electronic for rock. It’s dance music that broods — which, of course, isn’t dance music.
Poliça feels more like the soundtrack from a Michael Mann movie. The pretty desperation in singer Channy Leaneagh’s voice would go great with a too-fast drive down a dark freeway in pursuit of something.
They’re also quite good, and the four-piece did well holding the attention Wednesday night of a SXSW audience that usually takes its brooding with guitars, beards or irony. Instead, Poliça offered a pair of drummers — Drew Christopherson and Ben Ivascu — whose swirling beats and rhythms propelled Leaneagh’s verses. Bassist Chris Beirden’s grooves kept things from getting too dire.
Around the time the band finished its set, the overnight low in Minneapolis was settling around freezing. It would have made for a jarring contrast with the gorgeous evening on Rainey Street. But Poliça seemed just as at-home. When no genre can claim you, you can play well anywhere.