Polar Bear Club - Live At The Montage

July 30, 2012 by Dan LeRoy

Polar Bear Club - Live At The Montage

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"Bug Parade"

July 31, 2012 - Bridge Nine

AP Rating:

Not every band among Polar Bear Club’s hardcore and emo peers would be well served by stripping down for an acoustic set. But the Rochester/Syracuse, New York-based quintet have always traded as heavily on melodic, well-constructed tunes as upon locomotive punk power and Jimmy Stadt’s raw throat, and Live At The Montage is proof. Drawing tunes from each of the band’s three albums, plus a cover of the Weakerthans' "Left And Leaving" and a handclap-laden version of Saves The Day’s “At Your Funeral,” this show before a hometown crowd is occasionally revelatory. Shorn of its surface noise, “Bug Parade” (from PBC’s 2008 debut, Sometimes Things Just Disappear) here gets a welcome focus on the back porch drama of its lyrics. The songs from last year’s Clash Battle Guilt Pride, which put more emphasis on songcraft and polish, make an unsurprisingly easy transition to this format. Conversely, adrenaline-based tracks like “Living Saints” probably force Stadt against his upper register for too long; his voice, normally set to “stun,” doesn’t always make the transition to this softer setting. However, at nine songs, the relative brevity of Live is a wise hedge against ear fatigue, and the collection ends up just long enough to provide a worthwhile glimpse into the heart of Polar Bear Club’s songbook. (And if you still want more, the digital version comes with four additional cuts, including "Drifting Thing" and "Hollow Place.")


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