New Polyphia is just vibes for days.
Let me state that I really do love the big, bright and bold harmonies and melodies of Polyphia’s past. Their ‘Muse‘ and ‘Renaissance‘ material means so much to so many for such a good reason: they helped put expressive, technical instrumental guitar-prog on the modern map alongside CHON, Nick Johnston, and Animals As Leaders in this decade. Creating lush, hooky music that so many more demographics than just your average tech-guitar nerds can get off too with great, memorable compositions. (‘Finale‘ anyone?)
Yet there’s only so many times they could’ve re-written ‘James Franco‘, ‘Champagne‘, and ‘Euphoria‘ before it got all kinds of stale. Ergo, the Texan four-piece have been stepping away from djent and really redefining what their sound can be of late. The remix of ‘Light‘ – ‘LIT‘ – was the litmus test for such experimentations back in December 2016. Then their 2017 EP, ‘The Most Hated,’ picked up on stronger rap/hip-hop/trap/EDM influences; from bass-boosted lows with sweeping guitar leads (‘40oz‘) to electro drums and older, cheekier Polyphia guitar shenanigans slamming together (‘Goose‘).
Now, their next album, October’s ‘New Levels New Devils‘ (out via Equal Vision Records) is looking to see the group push their sonic boat out further from where their first two records landed. Along with plenty of varied features: singer/multi-instrumentalist Cuco, CHON’s Erick Hansel and Mario Camarena, Jason Richardson, Y2K, and Judge, it’ll show off the quartet’s expansion in dynamics, chops and songwriting skills even more so, Which is what we see and hear on ‘O.D.‘.
It’s kinda funny that Polyphia’s newest single is titled that, as that’s exactly what it sounds like: a massive, steamy overdose on progressive, virtuosic guitar porn with wickedly good tone. This track does nothing in half-measures and helps usher in a new, intriguing and more rhythm-centric era of Polyphia. Something that we also saw with their last jazzier, bass-driven single, ‘G.O.A.T‘, though I think this single achieves that better. The swaying, quick reverse-effects and samples throughout give this new track an eerie, atmospheric vibe; a darker timbre that contrasts against the undercurrent of the more positive vibes. Clay Gober’s thicc tone and percussive bass playing (who has really stepped up his game lately) underpins Clay Aeschliman’s precise, metronomic and fluid drumming, as really solid chord shapes, licks and hammer-ons melt from the rapid hands of guitarists Timothy Henson and Scott LePage; all with the odd melodic line cutting through like the days of old. Oh, and then there’s a brief, rattling trap section sliding in at the end that shows these guys are clearly having a fuck load of fun with their new lease on life and music.
Truly, it really does sound like Polyphia isn’t here to just sweep and shred their way through a whole record, but that they’re finally capturing and creating the very music that they hear in their heads. (Perhaps what they’re hinting at with that album title?) Which isn’t at all easy, but that makes me all the damn more excited for this new record to drop! Go and OD with ‘O.D.‘ in the meantime below. Though please don’t actually OD, that’s wack. Drugs are bad, please stay safe.
‘New Levels New Devils’ is out October 12th via Equal Vision Records. Read our recent interview with bassist Clay Gober here & check out the dates for the band’s co-headline Australian tour with Intervals this September over here.
‘New Levels New Devils’ Tracklisting:
Nasty feat. Jason Richardson
Death Note feat. Ichika
Drown feat. Mateus Asato
Yas feat. Mario Camarena and Erick Hansel (CHON)
So Strange feat. Cuco
Rich Kids feat. Yvette Young