A unique and unstoppable two-man outfit, Sydney band Polish Club have been tearing up the Aussie gig scene over the past year or so. Forming just a couple of years back, singer and guitarist Novak and drummer John-Henry have already settled into a fun, fast-rock niche, unveiling their massive single ‘Beat Up’ late last year and this week releasing their latest effort ‘Come Party’ – as well as their debut album Alright Already and a national tour to follow.
One of the truly special things about Polish Club, though, is that what you see is what you get; just two guys shredding and having the greatest time doing it. Before their first album has even dropped, they’re already staking their claim as one of the most exciting bands in the country – and possibly the best rock duo around.
“There are some things on the record that we don’t do live, but everything that’s recorded is either me or John playing it,” says Novak. “If I need to do another guitar line I’ll just overdub it myself.
“We’ve got a general rule where we don’t want to add anything that people are going to miss live, so there are no extra melodies that you’d be missing if you went to see us play.”
Both ‘Come Party’ and ‘Beat Up’, the two tracks that have been pre-released from the record, are pretty fast – even by Polish Club standards. But don’t expect the entire album to be exclusively tracks played at rapid-fire speeds.
“All of the singles we’ve released have been pretty breakneck in terms of tempo. We’ve got these two gears; one is super-fast and loud, and the other one is relatively slower – but still loud,” Novak explains. “There are a few, for lack of a better term, ‘slow-jams’ on the album. We had a couple on our EP and we’ve been playing them live, so if anyone has seen us live or listened to the stuff that’s not played on the radio, they’ll know that we have that extra gear that allows us to hold back a bit in terms of speed.
“I think the album is more varied than people will expect. You want to use a fun song for a single and I’m always in two minds because I want all of our music that we release as singles to reflect what we can do as a band, so I guess the challenge for us as a two-piece is we’re always limited with what we can do. But that’s also the fun part, because we have to work within our restrictions.”
The slick clip for new single ‘Come Party’ takes a surprising turn midway through…
Another remarkable characteristic of Polish Club’s music is that most of their songs so far have barely broken the two-and-a half-minute mark. Novak jokes that at least part of the reason is related to their lack of stamina as a group, but reveals that with the experience of the past two years under their belts there will be some longer tracks on Alright Already.
“I use the words ‘comfort zone’, but it’s pretty fuckin’ far from comfortable when we play it live,” he laughs. “Look, John and I aren’t the fittest specimens in the world, and before this band we hadn’t played live shows this often.
“I had hardly played live shows at all, so by virtue of that we’ve ended up with super short songs that are super loud and to-the-point, and if you watch us live you’ll see that we normally play them a lot faster than they are on the record, and that’s all we really know how to do.”
Plenty of their music harks back to a past time when rock was dominated by references to funk and soul. But there was never really an intentional move to reference that sort of music.
“I don’t really think about where this style of music is coming from,” Novak explains. “I know John sometimes comes in with a set idea of the type of song he wants us to write, but I only know what we can do well and the kind of song we can write where it sounds believable. People think we’re ‘60s and ‘70s soul music connoisseurs – and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t know all the standards – I think I just resonate with that general vibe.”
‘Beat Up’ kickstarted the anticipation for Polish Club’s debut album
One of the big challenges about heading back on the road after the album is released will be to remake their live set, something that they’ve gotten down to a fine art over the past year. “It’s funny because the album is a mish-mash of songs we’ve been playing for a while and it’s also got a few songs that are pretty fresh, songs that we wrote the chorus for recently,” says Novak.
“We haven’t played a few of them live before, and it’s interesting now because we’ve played so many shows in the past year that we got our set to a stage where it was just on auto-pilot, and we could just turn it into a show and get really silly with it […] and now we’re in a place where there’s so many songs to choose from we have to try to make a whole new set.”
That set will be making its way across the country very soon as the pair kick off their national tour. With the fierce momentum they’ve picked up over the past year, it’s one tour that’s absolutely not to be missed.
Alright Already is out March 31, and the duo’s national tour, supported by triple j and Tone Deaf, kicks off May 5. Tickets are on sale Friday 17 February from polishclub.co
‘ALRIGHT ALREADY’ TOUR DATES
Fri 5 May – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney
Sat 6 May – Narara Festival, Kariong
Thu 11 May – Small Ballroom, Newcastle
Fri 12 May – Rad Bar, Wollongong
Sat 13 May – Republic Bar, Hobart
Fri 19 May – Rocket Bar, Adelaide
Sat 20 May – Amplifier, Perth
Thu 25 May – The Foundry, Brisbane
Fri 26 May – Elsewhere, Gold Coast
Sat 27 May – Big Pineapple Festival, Woombye
Thu 1 Jun – The Transit Bar, Canberra
Fri 2 Jun – Workers Club, Geelong
Sat 3 Jun – The Corner, Melbourne