Since coming through with the goods on their debut album in 2017, it’s been a relatively constant burn for Polish Club, the Sydney duo known for their live shows and ability to craft punchy classic rock tracks. With Alright Already debuting 4 years ago only to be followed up with the stellar Iguana in 2019, Polish Club are back with their third album, Now We’re Cookin’, and honestly, the album does exactly what the label says. Whipping up a batch of 10 magic tracks over the course of 2020’s lockdown, Now We’re Cookin’ is Polish Club at their best, most melodic and entirely complete.
Having first burst out with punchy two-minute garage punk tracks, the band has progressed through to a point of pop laden love songs with doses of the aggression they first greeted listeners with in 2017. This change shows a level of welcome growth from frontman David Novak and drummer John-Henry Pajak; two musicians that have well truly come into their own over the three albums they’ve released. Yes, there is still the rapid and distorted guitar matched by manic drum fills, but it honestly feels like Polish Club have levelled up and are now completely confident that what they’re creating is the best version of the band.
Lead single “Just Talking” is a track that blends the old with the new, with its melody-driven hook, smooth vocals of Novak and slick guitar work through the bridge. An easing into what the album would potentially sound like, “Just Talking” was a smooth masterstroke as first single. Second single “Stop For A Minute” feels like the spiritual twin to Iguana‘s lead single “Clarity”. Again a little more accessible than the earliest of their work, “Stop For A Minute”, a song about how shit males are in the music industry, acts as the first song on the album and from the get-go is a crisp and jaunty near four-minute slice of class.
Where Now We’re Cookin‘ does progress the band and differentiates itself so much from earlier releases is the pop sensibilities of the 10 songs on the album. The band has openly said they want to make pop songs, albeit with a very noticeable Polish Club vibe. There’s a sense of lightness to the album that opens up the band’s more endearing and earnest side. This is obvious from the bounce and longing in “Getaway”. The strain in Novak’s voice as he grapples with needing/wanting to get away from his love and questioning whether it’s the best thing to do highlights a progression from the band both in a musical and lyrical sense. It’s a little eye-opening to see the band capable of writing such a polished pop song, but you’re absolutely not surprised based on the rest of Now We’re Cookin’.
The album dives deep into ballad territory with “No Heaven”, a track which for the most part is just Novak, a guitar and some subtle percussion, before becoming full-bodied with surging layered guitars in its second half. The wails of Novak are an ingenious addition, while the guitar work prior to the bridge is sweet and on point. Coming full circle “No Heaven” closes just as it begun and rounds out as probably my favourite song on the album.
Taking things a little bit country, “I Didn’t Want That (For You)” is another mid-album highlight, as it feels like the soundtrack to a slow Sunday afternoon in Spring as you go through mundane activities like cleaning the house, only to quietly love it because you’re spending it with your love. The album does return slightly to the chaotic Polish Club of old via the glorious “Whack”. An obvious and generalised takedown of all the flogs in society, “Whack” will be manic in a live set but entirely warranted.
Saving the most honest and overtly cynical song for last, “Fuck Off & Die” is everything you love about Polish Club: Slightly tongue in cheek, sometimes a little bit sweary but all in all just all-round quality songwriting. If you were looking for a recipe of what quality music looks and sounds like, Now We’re Cookin’ is the ingredients and Polish Club are the chefs. Get around the Sydney band and their new album; I promise it’ll be worth all the cooking references I’ve made above.
FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Now We’re Cookin’ is out Friday 13 August. The band has a number of limited merch bundles, including coloured vinyl, oven mitts, demo CDs and way more. Available HERE