Sunday, September 13, 2009

Polar Bear Club - Chasing Hamburg

Upstate NY has kept it real on the DIY end of things in recent years. If you're not a prima donna with a huge guarantee you can play a seemingly endless circuit of houses and DIY venues from New Paltz to the Canadian Border. Polar Bear Club rep for the Syracuse and Rochester end of things. Kids seem to be going apeshit for them of late, so it seemed prudent to snag a copy of the record and see how disappointed I'd end up. I'm pleased to say that they don't make me want to shoot myself nearly as much as most of the Warped/AP bands that I've encountered of late. Perhaps it's the refreshing lack of stupid fucking haircuts, but I think that PBC kind of bring it. The touchstones are mid 90s Midwestern bands like The Get Up Kids, Casket Lottery and Small Brown Bike, a trio that you'd be hard pressed to get me to speak ill of (ok, the last couple GUK records blew. Hard, but you know what I'm saying). Oddly enough (for me at least) Chasing Hamburg is on Bridge 9, a band that is rapidly becoming the Vagrant of the Ought Era. They've got a lot of bands that sound exactly the same, but have diversified a bit in recent years. They release a ton of product, but I don't hear too many bad things about them neglecting their artists or letting stuff fall out of print, so good for both parties. Chasing Hamburg has eleven decent songs, all produced fairly unobtrusively by Matt Bayles. He's pretty hands off, but the fairy dust he sprinkles on tracks like Take Me To The Town make this a record that marks a big step forward. Drifting Thing is a track that seems tailor-made for crossover success, catchy enough that I definitely smell some Against Me!/Asslight Anthem type major label courting imminently in their future. In the interim, Polar Bear Club are out on the Bridge Nine Tour, check out the dates here. You can pick up Chasing Hamburg from them on tour or via this handy link.


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