It’s unusual to say the least to have the lead singer of a band create a solo follow-up EP whose sound is so completely different in tone and content than the group's debut breakthrough, but that’s by design with Emma DeCorsey, of Brooklyn indie rockers I Am The Polish Army – whose searing and edgy, yet vibrantly tuneful 2017 debut My Old Man earned Rolling Stone’s praise as “the year’s best rock & roll album about time running out – and making the best of all you have to give. RS also named it one of the “15 Great Albums You Probably Didn’t Hear in 2017.”
At a time when Chilean born, Wisconsin raised lead singer Emma DeCorsey should have been riding a high, she came to terms with the reality of success when her boyfriend and the band’s bassist Turner Stough was called away to play for a few months with cult rocker Shilpa Ray. Pouring her mixed feelings, longing and loneliness into her music, DeCorsey began collaborating with her friend Duane Lauginiger (of the Brooklyn baed band Birds) to create a solo work that takes on a much darker, moodier, distorted and even slightly atonal vibe – no doubt by design.
Whereas the songs on the band's debut popped, grooved and rolled with fire and a rich sense of melody and harmony, the new EP is only compelling in fits and starts, as if the singer is reflecting in song the lack of vigor and color in her life with her man gone. That doesn’t mean these songs aren’t interesting, just a bit less engaging than on the band’s debut. The fire on the opening cut “Gold” comes from Lauginiger’s fitful electric guitar but we keep waiting for more emotional modulation in DeCorsey’s voice. “Dishes” is a bit more tuneful in front of the simmering rock guitar blisters, while the trippy, ambient “Viber” finds the singer sounding like she’s immersed underwater with a choir of lamenting angels. It’s a seven minute prog-rock exercise in emotional chaos – and quite fascinating and distorted at that.
“Just Lick Me” is percussive, poppy-punky and infectious – yet it’s hard to understand DeCorsey’s shouting vocals through the guitar fuzz. These last two tunes sound like a heavy-handed therapy session. It’s kind of fascinating to listen to a talented rock singer go through all of these emotions so quickly – but The Dream as a project probably won’t build upon the great momentum and acclaim bestowed upon I Am The Polish Army’s triumphant debut.