I Am the Polish Army – My Old Man
The debut release from I Am the Polish Army entitled My Old Man is an eight song collection ten plus years in the making. Guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter Emma DeCorsey has fought through a ton of adversity to bring this release to a waiting audience, but the unintended delays don’t matter now. My Old Man is here and every one of its tracks proves it is an album worth waiting for. Her cohorts in I Am the Polish Army, bassist Turner Stough and drummer Eric Kuby, are time-tested musicians whose contributions to both the songwriting and performances alike are well nigh immeasurable. The three musicians exhibit out of the chute chemistry many longstanding bands struggle to conjure or maintain and it results in one of the most fully cohesive, well-rounded musical works released in recent memory. It is quite apparent that the delays, unintended as they were, ultimately worked in the album’s favor. It resulted in a collection that sounds considered, yet fresh, creative, and completely free.
The freshness, creativity, and freedom mentioned above find complete expression in the opener. “You Don’t Know” has ample room for letting nuance and understatement guide the way, but DeCorsey’s guitar has a tremendous amount of personality and asserts itself at all the right points. The lyrical content gives the song a sort of hard-nosed, seen it all sort of feel without ever risking pretension. “Dead Bowie” is personal while still making some important social commentary. In an age when the heroes of bygone ages are dropping around us like flies, there’s a strong sense of vacuum filling people’s imaginative lives and DeCorsey’s songwriting decries the substandard hustlers and marginal talents smelling money and cheap celebrity rushing in to fill the void. The music’s fiery disposition underscores her dissatisfaction without ever running off the rails. “Throat” is equally fiery and comes barreling from your speakers with passion and strength in equal measure. This isn’t some willowy reminiscence of violence suffered at the hands of an abusive partner; instead, the feeling one gets from this song is that something happened DeCorsey intends to never let happen again.
“Dead Cat” tempers the fire of the preceding number, but not by much. DeCorsey’s narrative talents as a songwriter are unlikely to get much attention thanks to the band’s compelling musical material, but a close listen to this track reveals one of the album’s best lyrics. The brash, melodic riffing opening the album’s sixth track, “Setup”, shows how DeCorsey’s guitar skills are considerable enough to draw out a distinct personality from anything she turns her hand to but, without the massive rhythm section attack creating the necessary foundation, DeCorsey’s efforts would likely flounder. “Gene” starts off very deliberate but soon transitions into a slowly developing riffer with hard-hitting flourishes and a practically hypnotic quality to its movement. The beginning seconds of the final and title song “My Old Man” are marked by a tumultuous guitar rave up before the rhythm section takes over. DeCorsey’s guitar pyrotechnics resume in the song’s midway point before the track ends as it began with a return to the song’s early atmospherics. My Old Man is a sterling example of how the lone voice crying out in the wilderness doesn’t mean you won’t be heard. Listeners will hear this performer, loud and clear.
8 out of 10 stars