Album Review: Polish Club – Iguana (2019 LP)

Here’s a fun fact: despite the commonly held belief that they can do it whenever they please, Iguana’s can only change colour when placed under stress or basking in the sun. Now that I’ve dazzled you with my Year Seven standard understanding of the animal kingdom, you must know that just like Iguana’s, Polish Club have managed to change their sound here on second album, Iguana; all whilst maintaining the essence of who they are genuinely are.

Having burst on to the scene with their debut album Alright Already and earlier EPs Okie Dokie and Polish Club, the Sydney two-piece have come out all guns blazing here on new album Iguana as they’ve subtle-y and swiftly polished their sound and changed things up just enough that you know they’re headed in an upwards trajectory.

Having gifted the world with two ripper singles prior to its release, you always sensed that Iguana was going to be an improvement and a step forward for the band. Based off the sound of “Clarity” and “We Don’t Care”, their sound was clearer, more melodic and open to a bigger audience. With all of this in mind, it doesn’t mean they don’t go any harder on the guitar or drums.

If you know anything about the band, you’d know that the two guys that make up Polish Club, David Novak and John-Henry Pajak, are generally here for a good time. A lot of what they do is tongue-in-cheek. It’s pretty hard to dislike the guys. What’s impossible to dislike is this album. From front-to-back it’s an incredibly impressive release. From the pedestrian beat provided on the titular “Iguana” (by pedestrian I mean person walking across a road) and its soaring chorus matched with filth guitar riffs in the verses, to the immediacy of “Goddamn!” (and quite possibly the cheesiest keyboard progression since The Vapors), Polish Club deliver repeatedly on Iguana.

Since their debut, it’s clear they’ve grown as a band. I mean, they’re both a couple years older, but in terms of musicianship, they’ve gone to another level. Not that their debut tracks weren’t melodic, but there was a certain brashness to their sound that gave them an earthy, rag-tag sound. Those elements are still there, but Iguana delivers a varied and layered approach to their music. Notable stand outs are definitely “Sun” and “Breakapart”, as they borrow an almost Local Natives or City Calm Down sound. My dad even said they sound a little like The Black Keys. For a guy who listens pretty much exclusively to The Beatles, The Bee Gees, INXS and Elvis, this is a pretty big wrap. “Breakapart” has a ready-made festival sing-a-long chorus, while the vocals soar on “Sun” throughout its entirety.

“As Low As It Goes” has an AM era Arctic Monkeys vibe to it, as it slows down momentarily and the guitars become more forceful than they usually are, as Novak wails in the closing chorus. “2 Scared” is a throwback to your emo-punk days, while “Moonlighting” has one of the dirtiest, 3am dirty dance floor riffs to it. It’s a real track.

Coming in at twelve tracks and forty-five minutes long, Iguana is a massive step forward for Polish Club. Having always been able to release catchy garage rock, the way the band has progressed on the notoriously difficult second album is a sure fire sign of the genius in the band. It foreshadows bigger things to come. Their changes, as subtle as they may have been, are welcomed. Most importantly, they’re still the Polish Club you know and love. There’s no sign of stress here, and they’ll be basking in the glory of this album for a while to come.

FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Iguana is available now through Island Records.

Polish Club start their “Meet me at the Iguana” tour this week. Check out the dates below, and head HERE for tickets:

Sat 8 June | Entrance Leagues Club – Bateau Bay, NSW
Wed 12 June | The Cambridge Hotel – Newcastle, NSW
Thu 13 June | UOW Unibar – Wollongong, NSW
Fri 14 June | UC Hub – Canberra, ACT
Sat 15 June | Manning Bar – Sydney, NSW
Fri 21 June | Mojo’s – Fremantle, WA
Sat 22 June | Badlands – Perth, WA
Sun 23 June | Prince of Wales – Bunbury, WA
Fri 28 June | 170 Russell – Melbourne, VIC
Sat 29 June | Barwon Club – Geelong, VIC
Sun 30 June | Karova Lounge – Ballarat, VIC
Thu 4 July | Lion Arts Factory – Adelaide, SA
Fri 5 July | The Brisbane Hotel – Hobart, TAS
Wed 10 July | The Northern – Byron Bay, NSW
Thu 11 July | Studio 56 @ Miami Marketta – Gold Coast, QLD
Fri 12 July | The Triffid – Brisbane, QLD
Sat 13 July | The Spotted Cow – Toowoomba, QLD
Sun 14 July | Sol Bar – Sunshine Coast, QLD

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