Polarsets - Exotica [EP]
It's rude to assume that everybody from Newcastle wishes they were somewhere sunnier, but it seems like Polarsets do. Ignore their arctic band name and focus on the EP's title: Exotica.
"Long distances from home," goes the chorus of 'Distances'. "Lay back, let it go." 'Camping' echoes the sentiment: "I don't want to wake. I won't be hurrying home." You can occasionally spot a hint of regret at a city left behind, but such sentiments are far outweighed by the dread of having to return.
Another lyric: "And I fear I might forget this moment. Let it breathe into the breeze." These words are all typical of Polarsets; soft and romantic. Romantic, that is, in that whimsical way that travel often has. You know the feeling. Far-away places always seem more magical before you've actually been there. It might be naive, but you don't need to be ignorant of that to enjoy the feeling.
The instruments mirror the tropical mood. Synths are both pitched and percussive, like steel drums in the Caribbean. Simple hooks abound, but everything is smooth and relaxed. There are no big, dramatic changes. Each song starts in much the same place as it ends, with the same melodies and the same syncopated rhythms. They're strong, these beats, but still somehow low-key. Think Is Tropical or Metronomy, without their commanding basslines. This is dance music, but not dancefloor music. Beaches not nightclubs.
The band never deviate from this formula, but that's definitely on purpose. They even poke fun at their own tropes, by calling 'Tropics's last song '(summer related name)'. It's a self-deprecation they don't really need. Perhaps on a full-length, this would get tiresome, and Polarsets would need to tinker with new ideas. This EP though, doesn't have that problem. It's four songs doing one thing, but doing it well. The difference is about the same as emigrating to the Carribean and discovering all its flaws, versus an idyllic week's holiday that doesn't have time to get old.