England - Full Moon 211 - 11/17/13
From the musical terrains which Björk, Kate Bush and related quality pop femmes of elegance, swirling out stylish curls and swerves operates singer-songwriter Polly Scattergood. Other contemporary names to drop could be CocoRosie, as well as Norwegians Annie and Bertine Zetlitz. Her musical style has been described as "...early 21st century electro-dance-pop of London proper". Even though her family name Scattergood means "here today, gone tomorrow" or "spendthrift waster", Scattergood seems to be a stayer, not a mayfly.
Her debut album Polly Scattergood was released in 2009, receiving mixed reviews. Now, four years later she aims and shoots Arrows to the public. The album's steered steadily by producer Simon Fisher Turner [whom I happened to hear and see while performing - with 'his' band/orchestra, counting Cosey Fanni Tutti of Throbbing Gristle fame - his score to the remarkable silent documentary film The Epic of Everest (by Captain John Noel, 1924) at this year's London Film Festival]. Arrows spans from catchy 'disco-pop' ("Falling" and "Subsequently Lost") to piano ballads and quieter moments ("Miss You" and "I've Got a Heart"), and shows a talented song-writer as well as unveiling a startling voice. Her music is driven by intensity and quirkiness, and is both entertaining as well as engaging. The songs are fresh and fruity, and they are working well for ears as well as for feet. Here are plenty of uppers, such as "Cocoon", "Silver Lining", "Machines", and "Disco Damaged Kid". She is said to have started her composing career at age four when playing a toy piano. From her early years she's been listening to (and gotten inspired to make music herself by) Suzanne Vega and Leonard Cohen (not that this can be heard here...).
Polly's quotes count: "Music doesn't have to be strident to carry a strong message", and: "That you don't have to shout. You can say things and people will listen if they want to."
From the opening "Cocoon" to the closing "I've Got a Heart", Arrows mainly hits bull's eye.
Copyright © 2013 Håvard Oppøyen