Poliça at Village Underground
In 2018, Poliça’s lead singer Channy Leaneagh slipped while clearing ice from the roof of her home in Minneapolis and broke a vertebra, damaging her spine. Her subsequent time spent bed-bound informs the feel and lyrics of the band’s fifth album, When We Stay Alive. The lyrics reflect on a brush with death and reclaiming one’s body after such a catastrophic accident, as on the affecting Be Again. The menacing Driving creates a soundscape appropriate for such weighty topics: just-out-of-reach vocals and pressing synths create an eerie and ambiguous feel.
The cinematic and defiant Forget Me Now “is letting off some steam,” Leaneagh explains during a consummate performance at Village Underground. “It’s about recognizing a pattern of choosing people who can’t love you how you wish to be loved. It’s still remaining very grateful, counting blessings day and night; but don’t confuse being at peace with being a pushover. I think I wrote these words while angry-shovelling this winter. How does it go? ‘Choose a liar once and that’s the liar’s fault; choose a liar three times and it seems maybe I like liars?’ All the songs are about me and none of them are; this isn’t an excerpt from my diary but it has been many times.”
The detachment in Poliça’s signature mixture of alt-R&B, electronica and distorted indie both highlights and contrasts with their deeply personal lyrics. Leaneagh is newly raw when wrestling with her post-injury demons, as on the glossy Feel Life: “Screaming at death / ‘Why won’t you stick?’ / To feel I’ve failed, and I felt it,” she sings gracefully, despite the audible fear lingering on her tongue. Her voice alternates between coos and a mournful lilt, coming to terms with a life-changing event. The lyrics, although raw, when brushed with Poliça’s instrumentation create the uncanny sense of a world just beyond reach.
Photos: Arianna Cavalensi
For further information and future events visit Poliça’s website here.
Watch the video for Driving here: