By Polaroid are a five-piece alternative rock band from Sussex. Since their inception in 2011 and the release of their first EP later that year the band have been focusing on gigging and writing new material.
Let’s Drive is the first release from the band’s long awaited 2nd EP Safe in Sound which is due to drop around March this year. I caught up with guitarist Joe to talk about the track and the EP.
Taking influence from a range of bands from Biffy Clyro to the Foo Fighters, the band are known for progressive hard rock sounds infused with passionate melodies and mellow clean breaks. Let’s Drive is, according to Joe, probably the closest of the new tracks to previous releases despite it being very different. “People are liking that it’s a bit more delicate than some of the stuff we’ve done previously. But it’s a bit faster as well.”
[pullquote_left] As the verse kicks in and Pete’s dynamic vocal blasts out the opening lines, the guitars move into a series of goading almost ska-like chord progressions leaving space for the bass and drums to drive the song [/pullquote_left]
The song opens with a clean, driving, guitar that sets the pace before the introduction of a big thumping bass drum and the rest of the band. As the verse kicks in and Pete’s dynamic vocal blasts out the opening lines, the guitars move into a series of goading almost ska-like chord progressions leaving space for the bass and drums to drive the song. A few nice lead licks add some texture to the energetic breaks and by 30 seconds in you’re already nodding your head to the beat in approval.
Let’s Drive crosses a wide range of musical influences and styles, as Joe says “We really love Modern Rock, and that sort of not quite mainstream but bubbling on the edge of the mainstream rock that’s making waves at the moment. And we like to be a little bit different about it. We don’t just want to play 4 chords every time and always have the same tempo songs. We try and mix it up a little bit.”
In that spirit the chorus in Let’s Drive breaks down into a beautiful half-time section, airy chords are layered with rich harmonics propped up by the booming bass line and carefully plotted snare drops. It’s here you really start to see the power of singer Pete’s voice as he confidently assigns each word to a long melodic frame.
“Let’s Drive is the first track we worked on with Pete after he joined just over a year ago, and I think that’s one of the things that really makes it different to our previous recordings. Pete’s put his own personality towards it, he’s got his own lyrics. It’s the first one we actually worked with him on so its kinda special for us in that regard.”
Before you get too comfortable, the chorus resolves and throws you seamlessly into another hi-hat driven ska like verse. I say ska, there’s almost a hint of disco in there too (in a good way!). This time the rest of the band lift the dynamic with powerful backing vocals before pushing straight into another chorus.
Perhaps the nicest surprise on this track is the end section. The final phase mixes Pink Floyd-esque clean tones with lead licks that feel like someone’s taken Graham Coxon and set him at half his usual speed. It’s gritty and melodic, not a combination that’s often pulled off that well but By Polaroid manage it. The vocals float over the top, unified with the overall vibe of the section.