There was a glorious period of time during the late 90s and early 2000s when the EU was working, crossing borders didn’t trigger a period of quarantine, and the prospect of turning up to an airport and saying ‘we’ll have two tickets for your cheapest flight please’ was realistic. Bleary-eyed twenty-somethings could fill a backpack with all-weather clothing on a Thursday morning, and with £100, an open mind, and a willingness to point and smile across language barriers, a wonderful long-weekend could be had by all!
This, my friends, is how I came to know and love the Finnish city of Tampere.
Tampere is affectionately known as ‘the Manchester of the North’. Originally this nickname came about because it was the hub of Finland’s industry, but the moniker now works equally well due to its large student population and huge influence culturally. It’s also home to the world’s only Moomin Museum…
Polymoon, as you will have guessed by now, are from Tampere; a city that is enjoying a boom in its music scene as far as I can see it from hundreds and hundreds of miles away. We’ve had a number of Tampere bands reviewed in these very pages in the last few months, so feel free to label it as the new Liverpool/Seattle/Gothenburg, as you see fit. The dominant sounds within this scene are leaning towards the psychedelic, and that’s where Polymoon‘s sound is anchored.
For me, their name brilliantly evokes the sounds that you get within their debut album, Caterpillars Of Creation, which is being released on Svart Records on 4th September. If big-muff fuzz tone guitars, swirling keyboards, and vocals drenched in reverb sounds like a recipe that would normally get you aurally salivating then this is a record you should check out immediately. Oh, and I haven’t mentioned the most important element of Polymoon – basslines that rumble, twist, turn and soar in a way that I haven’t heard for a long time.
If you’re struggling to get a mental idea of what all this sounds like then picture a straight line graph with My Bloody Valentine at one end and (the hugely undervalued) The Secret Machines at the other. Polymoon sit halfway along that axis – and what a great place to sit.
basslines that rumble, twist, turn and soar in a way that I haven’t heard for a long time…
Like many of you I’ve been working at home recently, so my first few spins of Caterpillars Of Creation happened whilst I was writing reports and responding to endlessly inane email enquiries. The album quietly occupied that deep recess of my brain which allowed me to work without wanting to throw my laptop through the window. The excitement came later in the evening when I sat down to listen to it properly; headphones on and beer in hand.
What was thrilling was that pretty much every riff, keyboard line and melody had sunk into my memory. It was a very bizarre experience of listening to something for the first time whilst anticipating each note. This isn’t to say it’s predictable; far from it. It’s simply that all six of the songs just work and these ears get more and more out of them after every listen. As a debut release, Caterpillars Of Creation is nothing short of being everything you could ask for. These guys have emerged from the cocoon fully formed, with a sound and an aesthetic firmly in place. What’s even better is that all of the material backs this up; there isn’t an ounce of filler in its forty three minutes.
I’d usually try to single out tracks and describe them and their relative merits, but in this case I think it’d be a fruitless exercise. This is an album best served whole. It’s a record that is totally of its place; it’s at times claustrophobic and dark, but then opens up with a melody that brings with it images of the sun piercing through the trees at dawn.
At times I found myself picturing Blade Runner-type imagery, and in the same sort of way as Ridley Scott did, Polymoon have created something that is both sci-fi and totally organic at the same time. And I guess that’s where the Moomins come back into play…the Moomin stories and comic strips could only have come out of one place and time, yet there are millions all over the world with whom their particular brand of whimsy and magic strikes a chord. Give Polymoon a chance and you may discover the same thing.
Scribed by: David J McLaren