Reviews Polar Bear Club Clash Battle Guilt Pride

Polar Bear Club

Clash Battle Guilt Pride

Clash Battle Guilt Pride is Polar Bear Club’s third release and second on Bridge Nine. The veteran band sets their tone early with “Pawner,” a sparse, sprawling song with big hitting moments where vocalist Jimmy Stadt runs the gamut of emotions. While the tempo lulls are a bit under spoken for the heavy-minded group, the emotive bursts of “I gotta take my grab at something great” are entirely reflective of the concept behind their latest release. The seamless transition into “Killin’ It” gives an epic, crescendo effect that culminates in the gang whoa-ohs that highlight Stadt’s pained screams to dramatic effect. Within this general sound, Polar Bear Club aren’t only trying to create cathartic singalongs and fist-pumpers, they’re trying to recreate the entire world and it’s wide range of emotion as they proclaim: “Watch it break like knives in the pavement/ We’re just getting warm.”

But it’s not all dramatic reach. The third song, “Screaming in Caves,” returns with the band’s familiar dual guitars, playing off one another as Stadt caterwauls. While his vocals can change tones on the flip of a switch—and they often do—the rough edge to his voice remains throughout and gives a cohesion that keeps the music sounding live and real, serving as a powerful complement to the brash guitars. It’s Stadt’s delivery, combined with the call and response choruses, that separates Polar Bear Club from a lot of mid-2000s bands—and for the better. The band utilizes frequent tempo shifts, but they’re seamless and carefully plotted without the contrast element so many acts have relied on. While melodic hardcore is the bread and butter here, there is a subtle blend of other influences, including Far. Stadt’s cadences in the lyrics add to the dramatic shifts of the songs, with most lyrical couplets being delivered in a somewhat list-fashion, taking little breaths in between for effect.

The lyrics tend to run a bit melancholy for my tastes. With descriptive lines such as “we’re breaking the windows so we can feel the cold” and “I feel like the wait staff on the midnight train,” there’s a definite dramatic tinge. Fortunately, the dual guitars counteract the sorrow and there’s a constant uptempo, positive vibe throughout. Typically such lyrics would be an immediate turnoff, but between Stadt’s delivery and the powerful guitars, it plays nicely without distracting from the general tone. As a whole, Clash Battle Guilt Pride is a solid listen with emphatic highs and inspirational lows. It’s simultaneously melancholic melodic hardcore and singalong positive punk at the same time—a fine line to tread, but Polar Bear Club pulls it off.

7.0 / 10Loren
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7.0 / 10

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