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Chris Poland - Polcat CD (album) cover

POLCAT

Chris Poland

 

Progressive Metal

2.00 | 2 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Negoba
Prog Reviewer
2 stars Straightforward Funky Fun

Thanks to following Chris Poland's Ohm online, I got wind of this project sometime last year. I believe the internet fans may have even helped name the band. (I voted on Polcat.) The basic idea was a laid-back jazz session with co-leads of Poland's guitar and Frank Catalano's sax. While Catalano takes a slightly more prominent role, the highest moments on the album are when Poland lets it rip. Bassist Sean O'Bryan Smith has been doing alot of the promotion for this project, and for certain the rhythm section is not to be overlooked here. All of the players on this project have strong resumes, including the guest spoken word appearance by Malcolm Jamal Warner (yes him).

I must say that my initial reaction to this record was a bit of disappointment. This is fairly straight lounge jazz, with Catalano's sax being quite competent but producing virtually nothing challenging. Smith's playing is pretty typical as well, with his only standout track being the strong opener "Forget About It." Poland is his typical self, though he plays alot more rhythm guitar than I'm used to. I believe this was his first project back after coming off his ordeal with tinnitus, and he certainly didn't lose any chops. He's occasionally pushed a bit more outside than normal, and his tone isn't as thick as on earlier records. Sometimes, his speed runs really don't fit, and I'm not certain this is his natural element. He does have some monster licks, and as a fan of his playing, I can't complain too much.

Unfortunately, there are two new discs that are going to completely overshadow this one in my listening rotation in the long run. The first is Tosin Abasi's TRAM project which also moved toward jazz and included a wind player. The other is the second offering from Poland's other side project, Ohmphrey, whose samples are even better than the debut. Both are more daring, have better energy, and despite their all-star lineups feel like coherent bands. Polcat feels like a very good jam session between awesome players who really aren't that familiar with each other. Which is exactly what it was. What's more, TRAM's Adrian Terrazas and Ohmphrey's Robertino Pagliari put Polcat's Catalano and Smith to shame, frankly.

I must admit the this disc has grown on me over 10-20 listens but a year from now, it will be buried behind these two great albums. The best tracks are "Mighty Burner," the previously mentioned "Forget About It," and the strange but powerful "Americana." As a hard-core Poland fan, I'm exactly the audience for this disc. For everyone else, I've told you where to look.

Negoba | 2/5 |

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