Band Profile: Polyrock

Posted: February 11, 2016 in Band Profiles, New Wave, Post-Punk, Synthpop

As I was looking for cold wave bands of the ‘80s on YouTube, I came across the video for Polyrock’s “Romantic Me.” I gave it a listen and immediately recognized the song, although I couldn’t quite place where I had heard it – probably some early ‘80s new wave cable show. I’m not sure why they were lumped in with cold wave on this particular YouTube channel, as they are more minimal new wave. There wasn’t much information available on the band but I’m sure glad I rediscovered them.

Having come out of the same late ‘70s, NYC music scene, Polyrock was often compared to the Talking Heads. It also didn’t hurt that singer Billy Robertson had a unique vocal delivery, somewhat similar to David Byrne’s. Their sound combined stripped down repetitious rhythms and synth that you could move to, as evidenced on “Romantic Me,” the group’s most notable song. Their minimalist sound was no accident, as composer Philip Glass had a hand in producing their first two albums, and also made an appearance on both. The band released two albums in the early ’80s, their self-titled debut in 1980 and Changing Hearts in 1981. They also released a 5-track EP in 1982, Above the Fruited Plain, before calling it quits later that year.

“Romantic Me” is the first track off the self-titled LP. The repetitious beat along with the mechanical keyboards and synth play nicely against Robertson’s emotional delivery.

 

For “Call of the Wild,” backing vocalist Catherine Oblasney takes the lead. The song is included on the EP Above the Fruited Plain. By this time, the group had already moved to a more pop-oriented, melodic sound.

 

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