Polar Bear Club Chasing Hamburg

Polar Bear Club Chasing Hamburg
These Upstate New Yorkers turned heads in 2005 with their debut five-song demo, mixing hardcore elements with catchy riffs and intricate musicality. Four years later, they are at the forefront of melodic hardcore, and their often-fickle audience has the highest of expectations. The band's debut on hardcore mainstay Bridge 9 is Chasing Hamburg, an album that focuses on songwriting maturation and subtleties in dynamics. There are a few prototypical PBC hits on the record, like the angular, math-y, anthemic "Living Saints," but the band don't repeat themselves too much. "Drifting Thing" is a longing song about the nostalgia of young love. Vocalist Jimmy Stadt reveals an unexpected sombre croon here, complemented by subtle power chords and spare percussion. The highlight of the album is "One Hit Back," where Stadt gets a well-deserved lyrical shot at justice, calling out pervasive hardcore message board haters. While this album is a solid example of Polar Bear Club's maturation, and a step in the right direction to securing the band's longevity, if you haven't heard them, 2006's The Redder The Better is still their definitive record. At the very least, Polar Bear Club are giving the message board kids something to debate. (Bridge Nine)