Polar Bear Club chases perfection


Chasing Hamburg, the second album from Rochester, N.Y., rockers Polar Bear Club, isn’t for the weak-hearted.  The band, young but heavily rooted in the New York punk scene, has taken the best parts of their 2008 debut Sometimes Things Just Disappear and refined them even further, resulting in their most accessible material to date.

The album kicks off with the mysterious See the Wind and then pummels the listener with the band’s trademark heavy hooks in Living Saints and Boxes.  Never content with cliché lyrics or predictable subject matter, Polar Bear Club’s songwriting shines on Chasing Hamburg.  From songs criticizing the egotistical mindset of many modern rock stars (the aforementioned Boxes) to songs responding to the ever-growing number of online trash-talkers (One Hit Back), the true genius of Chasing Hamburg cannot be found without delving into its lyrics.

While Hamburg’s songs lack the length and complexity of the band’s earlier material, they pack an even bigger punch this time around.  The guitar licks are more technical, the vocals hit harder, and the melodies, when they appear, are flat-out irresistible.  The title track closes out the album brilliantly with some of the band’s most memorable lyrics ever.

Despite the fact that the album only clocks in at 32 minutes total, its impact isn’t easily forgotten.  Fans of hook-laden hard rock should give this album a listen immediately.