Kelley Polar - I'm Not What You Want

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  • Mixing the epic nerdiness of '80s synth-pop a la Thomas Dolby with disco and a flair for the sort of musical complexity that comes from time spent at Julliard, Kelley Polar pushes a sound that is simultaneously warm and eccentric, if a little detached from nearly everything else happening in dance music. While his most enduring contribution to music may well be his string arrangements for Metro Area, we mustn't forget about his two deeply accomplished LPs for Environ, the latter of which, I Need You to Hold On While the Sky Is Falling, appeared back in 2008. In a scene where edits and samples often carry the pre-digital torch, it's truly wonderful to come across utterly original and virtuosic compositions, and I'm sure we'd all love to hear from the man born Michael Kelley more. (He doesn't write, he doesn't call…) The title cut opens with just the sort of heart-tugging string work that keeps us coming back to Polar before transitioning into the stripped-down digital pop the track's vocalist, Junior Boys' Jeremy Greenspan, has spent his career singing over. Strings play a bit less of a role on "Nocturne," where Polar trades vocals with Finland's Emilia Lagk over an arrangement drawing from the producer's spacier sonic proclivities. I have a feeling Polar tends to think bigger than singles, so while these tracks are of high quality, the format doesn't give him the opportunity to push his sound forward much. Rather than the next great iteration of Kelley Polar, we get meat-and-potatoes Polar, or perhaps granola bar Polar—something to stave off our hunger until his next, more ambitious project surfaces.
  • Tracklist
      01. I'm Not What You Want 02. Nocturne