Caroline Polachek: “Desire, I Want To Turn Into You” album review – Welcome to Caroline’s Island..


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Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

This week, sees the return of Caroline Polachek. A space-pop odyssey of unchecked mirages and a pining for those we lost.

Less so a pining, mind and but a desire. A desire can be volatile, excruciating, wonderful, and cruel—but above all, it keeps us going. Despite the consequences we find ourselves in it. Caroline, a hopeless romantic in her own right, is no stranger to this feeling. A feeling that can make a boring life beautiful. A feeling that is both demonstrated on the artwork’s grimy subway floor aswell as seeped throughout the 12-track fiery-red flourishing of Desire, I Want To Turn Into You. A welcoming hand into the red-hot sunsets or the deep curvatures of Calypso Deep, we’re lead into the many orbits of ethereal pop we have seen become unmasked over the expansive years in our industry. The Crude Drawing Of An Angel brings home the blotched narrative of a Christine & the Queens scarred memory, damage scratched all in the name of beauty itself. “Forsake me/Here on the ground/All or nothing,” she pleads, begging for mercy from a lover whom she knows will disappear. While on bristling bagpiped Blood and Butter, this soon turns ugly into the cavities of lust. She swoons without breath at the thought of diving through her lover’s face, longing for nothing “but the sun that’s in our eyes.”

 It’s all a bit much, I know, but it’s the extent of an astute philosopher who can digress into the outlined detail of true desire, as opposed to the smudging we see in other pop circles – with the mere mention of emoticons being enough for them as justification.

Of course, the oddity of such an ethereal pop album has been displayed for years. We have the visionary avant-garde guardian Björk standing on the foothills with the uncouth instrumentals that can be heard in Butterfly Net and the flamenco-incensed Sunset. We even have the the straight-arrowed dance filtered-pop of Charli XCX. An affront to the modernity of pop scurges, but pop all the same. Bunny is the Rider is the closest we get to this element, a feeling more grounded to an elusive fantasy into the majesty of love: “I do, I do, feel like the lady / I do, I do, fireworks blazing / I do, I do, heart is unbreaking. Less philosophical in design, but supercharged with Caroline’s expansive set in writing a pop album that extends to all corners of play.

“I started thinking about how to re-harmonize myself, and my music, with the reality that there is a destructive side to everything,”

This is how we Desire.. in its true form. A fragile tapestry who, through it all, just needs an understanding embrace. But the true winner of this album is Caroline’s Aerial-angelic vocals, a culmination of bel canto operatic that has led to a successive fanbase of admiration over the years.

An ethereal beckoning onto her oasis, comes with the yearning Welcome to my Island. Despite the operatic introduction dredging up comparisons to EDM-country song Big Enough with an upscaled Jimmy Barnes singing in the mountains, it’s an electro-pop effusion of passion, love and you guessed it… desire. That feeling you can’t just shake off. Welcome to my island, hope you like me, you ain’t leaving. A transitional phase from 2019’s Pang – an album in upward flux – Desire, I Want to Turn Into You… is Polachek at her best.


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