Polar Bear Club

Clash Battle Guilt Pride

BY Nicole VilleneuvePublished Oct 4, 2011

Polar Bear Club are past the point in their career where they're saddled with a ton of expectations ― that would've been before releasing 2009's excellent and well-received sophomore outing, Chasing Hamburg ― but they continue not only to hit numbers, but raise the bar without even being asked. On Clash Battle Guilt Pride, structures bend and tempos shift while vocalist Jimmy Stadt just gets better ― increasingly weathered and dependable. Both "Screams in Caves" and "Life Between the Lines" are instant classics for totally different reasons. The former because it reminds us exactly why we went a little bananas for these super-accessible post-hardcore Rochester dudes in the first place and the latter because it's the sound of a band not only naturally improving with road wear and time, but pushing themselves. PBC's instincts are once again spot on, and even before album closer "3/4 Tango" rumbles its way into a soaring chorus and a spectacularly performed finish, you're already left wondering what they'll come up with next.
(Bridge Nine)

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