Known for pop-punk riffs and harsh vocals, Polar Bear Club has remained steady on the scene for several years, touring with bands like The Gaslight Anthem, Every Time I Die and Fireworks. Recently, Polar Bear Club released a new album; with that new album came a completely different sound from vocalist Jimmy Stadt. Stadt and the band have been accused of selling out after signing to Rise Records, as fans have been arguing that the change in Stadt’s voice can be attributed to the change in labels – when, in reality, Stadt essentially wore his vocal chords out after so many years of the ever-so-popular raspy-voiced songs.
In my opinion, the change in Stadt’s voice didn’t affect the music of Polar Bear Club. Death Chorus is just as entertaining as any of the band’s other albums and the lyrics and musicianship still follow the work of earlier albums. In fact, this is one of the most graceful changes in sound I have witnessed in years. Death Chorus still provides fans with the energy and attitude of previous records, and I’ll even argue that Stadt’s new vocals give him more range than he had before.
The album opens with “Blood Balloon,” a song that reminded me very much of Polar Bear Club’s earlier albums. “Blood Balloon” is a strong song with a catchy chorus; one listen and I was ready to see what this new album had to throw at the fans. One of my favourite things about Polar Bear Club has always been the softer ballads, and Death Chorus did not disappoint me in this area. Track five of the album is a song entitled “Siouxsie Jean.” It's a slower song set in the middle of the album, giving listeners a break from constant jamming. I haven’t heard vocals this great from Stadt since “Convinced I’m Wrong” on the band's 2008 album, Sometimes Things Just Disappear, and the same can be said for “WLWYCD.”
Death Chorus is an album full of great songs. The same musical style we all fell in love with years ago is still being pushed through in these songs and Stadt is writing relatable lyrics. Polar Bear Club may have gone through some major changes as a band, but the overall sound didn’t and that’s something to be respected.