PZ1 by Pozi

Release date: April 5, 2019
Label: Prah Recordings

On the surface, London based newcomers Pozi are your stereotypical UK post-punk band. The trio channel their forbearers with anarchic sensibilities and politically motivated songs, and even vocally their cockney stylings emulate their 1970s inspirations. Yet there is one major difference in their sound – the usual angry guitar sound is replaced with a sweepingly versatile violin sound. With a line up comprised of Rosa Brook on violin, Toby Burroughs on drums and Tom Jones on the bass (and with all three helping with vocal duties) this trio take their punk roots into interesting new directions. The band masterfully move from up-tempo, offbeat punk to mournful tales of urban disenchantment, while maintaining a sarcastic cynicism throughout.

 

The album has an odd tone, with opener ‘Watching you Suffer’ bouncing along, jolly off-beat violin sounds at odds with the venomous lyrics. From there on things get a bit more eclectic, with a song that almost veers into the realm of the romantic ballad – ‘Engaged’ – followed up by ‘KCTMO’; a rant against the company behind the Grenfell fire tragedy. Both of these songs seem out of place (‘KCTMO’ in particular has a sombre, mournful tone, emulating the likes of Robert Wyatt) yet their messages couldn’t be further apart. These songs – as well as others such as ‘Broken Lights’ and ‘Noel’, a haunting tale of Christmas isolation – have a more serious nature, and seem at odds with a band that at other times seem rather playful. It leaves the album feeling a little disjointed – the band veers from serious tracks like these to a dancefloor filler of a song called ‘Doggers’ in the space of a few minutes. There is always an undercurrent of this seriousness – even on the mostly quite upbeat ‘Youth in Asia’ the almost spoken word chorus (as well as the title, of course) gives the song a sinister feel – but the tone doesn’t feel right throughout.  It leaves the PZ1 feeling like being the best of the songs the band has written, rather than an album with a coherent and consistent message.

Still, as debut albums go this is remarkably impressive. Pozi have a unique sound; they don’t do anything particularly complicated, but their post-punk-with-violins sound is unique and used incredibly well – they transcend such simplistic summaries, creating a noise that is truly their own. This is more one to dip in to than to listen as a whole – the aforementioned ‘KCTMO’ and ‘Doggers’ are my own highlights for completely different reasons.  If the band can create a more focused message then album number two could be something special.

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