steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion


"Most of Them Are Clockwork" CDR

Series Two Records

Genre: pop, indie pop

Seattle WA

June 13, 2009

The brainchild of Mark Bombara and Mark Romanowski, Poland plays elegantly quirky indie pop with deceptively effective hooks. On Most of Them Are Clockwork, I am reminded of The Loch Ness Mouse, Tindersticks, and little-known Crunchy Frog band Learning from Las Vegas, especially in the vocals.

The first thing I noticed about this record is that it is a remarkably hi-fi production for prolific bedroom label Series Two. Poland's songs are fully realized and ornamented, with an attention to detail that makes it readily apparent that these folks know their way around a pop song. Take "Von Neumann's Catastrophe," which matches Romanowski's maturely tasteful vocals with a strolling banjo line and a sweet reed organ melody. The result is addictively pleasant. Other superb moments include breezy "Small Talk and Miracles" and eclectic "Almost Metropolis."

Strings, piano and other instruments help make this record engaging even at its less intrinsically infectious moments, meaning Clockwork has a knack for amassing repeated listens. I don't know how this release came to be, but Series Two have uncovered a gem with Poland. Certainly one of the better independent CDRs to come out last year, Most of Them Are Clockwork deserves a spot in any pop lover's stereo.

poland's myspace


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 11 tracks, distributed by the label, released April 2008]