Album Review

Caroline Polachek - Desire, I Want To Turn Into You

A record that deliberately reaches a little to the left of perfect.

Caroline Polachek - Desire, I Want To Turn Into You

You’ll be hard pushed to find an album that sounds anything like ‘Desire, I Want To Turn Into You’, the seventh release by alt-pop empress Caroline Polachek, and the second under her own name. Built around the unmistakable concept of spiralling, it learns further into the traditionalism that underpinned the more folk-inspired parts of 2019’s ‘Pang’, pairing her distinctive style with an onslaught of curveballs that cover everything from classical Spanish to award-winning bagpipes. Look no further than the Grimes and Dido featuring ‘Fly To You’, a swirling trip hop fantasy for a small glimpse of Caroline’s beautifully-crafted, wide-cast net.

Produced alongside Danny L Harle in a series of small rooms, ‘Desire…’ walks its own path from the otherworldly beginnings of ‘Welcome To My Island’, with the outright pop of ‘Pang’’s ‘So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings’ submerged into the rhythm of ‘Bunny Is A Rider’ and the industrial disco of ‘I Believe’. The softer one-two of ‘Hopedrunk Everasking’ and ‘Butterfly Net’ mirror their titles with folk-adjacent beauty. Each touch on conventional styles but make a deliberate leap sideways into the new; a pattern that has underpinned both Caroline and Danny’s pivotal careers.

A crude drawing of an angel, both a song title and a subtle depiction on the album’s cover, offers an accurate insight into ‘Desire…’, a record that creates ethereal beauty through spiralling tones and that deliberately reaches a little to the left of perfect. It embraces the unconventional with resounding ease, finding its voice in the skilled hands of two of pop’s most forward-thinking pioneers, both busy rethinking just what it can be.

Tags: Caroline Polachek, Reviews, Album Reviews

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