LP Review; Polyphia: “New Levels New Devils”

The Album:

Even though Polyphia had given their fans a tiny taste of new music in 2017, when there was talk of a new album, the hype increased, and spoiler alert: rightfully, rightfully, rightfully so. When first stumbling across this album, I had no prior relationship with Polyphia or their music, so I didn’t know what to expect, and my was I blown away. With that being said, the make of this album gives the audience a plethora of unique instrumental works with only a dash of vocals to give listeners a whole new perception of what a progressive album in 2018 can be. From here, we can dive into the musical techniques that make this album so phenomenal. Throughout the record, the band gives listeners melodic lines through the instrumental part that will stick in their mind just as words would. They are able to pull this affect off by making each track drive on a significant melodic figure that is completely different than the rest on the album. This affect comes across so strong because the band utilizes almost every musical genre that one can think of; meaning, they push all the musical genres into a ball, squish them together, and create this remarkable work that really can’t be described to a tee, for it should be experienced more than anything else. The main musical genres that pull towards the front would be: pop, alternative, jazz, rock, and even some indie or party (a bit of a stretch, but it’s there). After establishing such a vast spectrum of musical timbres from the varying musical genre core, the band is able to give the audience this overly embellished texture since the instrumental lines are the “it” and the driving force of this album. One of the musical nuances that strike me the most moving throughout this album is the extremity of highs and lows, musically speaking, the instrumentalists utilize while the entire group is providing a thick texture (that also varies to give the audience contrast here and there). The highs and lows give the audience a huge sense of contrast when there is a lot going on, texturally speaking, but since every line interacts and fits with one another, it all just clicks. Overall, I am giving this album a 5 out of 5 stars. This score was an easy one to me, for the music on the album is ornate, interesting, cool, and innovative; plus, the record is a perfect choice to just put it on, and let it spin.

 

Top Tracks:

 “Nasty (feat. Jason Richardson)”, “Saucy”, and “Rich Kids (Feat. Yvette Young)”.

All of the tracks that are heard on this record are phenomenal; however, when listening to the album from front to back, these ones definitely pack a bit harder of a punch, and will likely stick in the minds of the listeners. This is because these songs stretch the varying musical genres fairly far while giving the audience these over the top melodic figures that are both entrancing and mesmerizing, which will make the listeners want to listen to the album all the more. Every selection on this album deserves a listen, but if nothing else, these pieces of music should definitely make their way into everyone’s daily playlist.

 

The Artwork:

 When first coming across the album artwork for the album, it could be a little startling to the audience, for the art on the cover is so strong on its own. To further, when glancing at the art, without the knowledge of the music on the inside, the image tells the audience a clear story that has the bite to pack a big punch. When looking at the image, it can be seen that the two tigers on the front both have halos over their heads as well as blood in their eyes. Taking it a step further, one of the tigers has a calm facade as the other one is in a state of intensity. This collective image gives the audience a message that could symbolize the hardships of overcoming obstacles and everyday hindrances since tigers normally symbolize one repossessing that position of power. Taking this imagery and applying it to the music, it can be said that the cover art and the music make a perfect match. Going along with the tiger imagery, the remainder of the album cover is plastered red, which normally symbolizes emotions like love, danger, passion, seduction, anger, etc. These two parts of the album-cover whole are evident through the record through the title of each track, and the music that drives home that adjective/noun of each song title. The album gives the audiences a spectrum of words to spark their imagery through the track name such as, “Death Note”, “Yas”, and “Drown”. So, it is no surprise that the album cover depicts this, aggressive, polar opposite image because that’s the same make of the tracks of the album. Furthermore, it is more than safe to say that not only is the music of this record phenomenal, it also makes a perfect match with its cover photo; thus, making it, conceptually, a strong album from start to finish.

*”New Levels New Devils” was released on October 12, 2018 through Equal Vision Records.

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