Published Jan 29, 2020"Laying in bed, as I healed from a ten-foot fall of carelessness with my life, I would dream of running in green grass and tears would pour from my eyes." This is Poliça frontwoman Channy Leaneagh detailing the experience that changed her in early 2018, as was pinned in the YouTube comments section for "Driving," a single from of her new album, When We Stay Alive.
To be clear, the album did not have this title before the accident. Before falling from her roof while clearing ice, smashing her L1 vertebrae and battering her spine, Leaneagh had no idea what would soon become the inspiration for the title. Yet as Poliça's fourth album, When We Stay Alive is not about a single unexpected accident: It is a transformative synthpop journey exploring how our worst moments shape us as individuals for when we are at our best.
"Driving" begins slow and atmospheric, but gains momentum and pulls listeners in with its rhythmic intensity. "TATA" follows to completely switch up the vibe, channelling ferocity and playfulness at the same time. The next song "Fold Up" is haunting and dissonant, yet it is hard to tell whether the song itself is weak or simply lacks by comparison with the beauty and marvel of all other undertakings on the LP. Later on comes "Be Again," which initially served as vocal practice for Leaneagh to regain her voice while wearing a brace; with this backstory in mind, the song itself feels powerful and inspiring, created with a passion running so deep it feels nearly tangible.
Although half of When We Stay Alive was recorded before Leaneagh's accident and the other half afterwards, the album feels surprisingly cohesive. When We Stay Alive maintains an illuminating narrative throughout, communicating that yes, life's misfortunes can be tough, but through the healing process, we can return to our lives stronger than ever before. (Memphis Industries)