Pollyanna: “An excessively cheerful or optimistic person” (Dictionary.com). Originating from New Jersey, Pollyanna is a four-piece punk rock band that consists of Brandon Bolton on bass, Daniel McCool on drums, Jack Rose on guitar, and Jill Beckett on vocals and guitar. With their newest album Slime, released earlier this year, Pollyanna is carving a name for itself in the scene.
With nine out of twelve of the songs off of the album containing explicit material, it is not your easily playable CD for the radio, however, that’s no feat for Slime with hit after hit after hit. The album opens with my favorite track: “Pixie” which features super filtered, grunge-y vocals with heavy guitars and an upbeat drum. The background vocals in the chorus give a slight riot girl feel to the song and add to the punk feel. Coupled with the rising and falling power chords in the chorus, this song slaps.
The track list stays high energy into the song “Smile” which has a refreshing half-time type of beat throughout and even up to “Mars.” Then the album takes a huge shift to acoustic guitar and super raw, emotional, unfiltered vocals with the coming of “Pathetic.” This song is highlighted by the tracks surrounding it and helping it stand out as the powerful ballad that it is.
This album lyrically tackles highly politicized topics like female sexuality, slut shaming, and the judgments and expectations that society puts on women. Navigating being a woman in the social sphere in modern times is extremely complex as well as restrictive and Pollyanna deconstructs this in their lyrics that dip into topics like sex, intimacy, and relationships. This album also features creative rhythmic breakdowns with a punk feel that can be found in songs such as “SLUT,” “Okay.,” and the extremely catchy “Relationship Anxiety.”
“Acid Song” is one of the most creative songs off of the album with a slowed down, yet somehow also fast-paced grunge-y feel with a nostalgic sound, but also sounding like nothing I’ve ever heard before. The vocal melody and techniques suit the guitar part perfectly, melding into the grunge masterpiece that it is. It starts super unassuming, but from the first guitar riff and the short vocal melody that follows, you just know you’re in for a banger. This song has a similar sonic feel to the neighborhood of the Twilight soundtrack, while also feeling entirely brand new. The bass line that repeats throughout really pulls the guitar riffs together and helps pull the new material together as the song progresses into one cohesive piece.
The album finishes off with the two longest tracks on the album: two slow jams titled, “Jado” and “who do you want me to be?” which add an extremely unique touch to the sound of the album and pull it all together full circle. They give the space for a much-needed raw, emotional, stripped-down perspective on coming of age and bring the whole Slime experience together to a beautiful, intimate, tender conclusion to the story.
I can see how Pollyanna might get compared to predecessors in the genre with female leads such as Paramore, Tonight Alive, or even Beach Bunny, but Pollyanna has a super unique sound with their emotionally charged lyrics, super filtered and angsty female vocal, rock beats, and punk chord progressions — they have forged their own super unique niche within the punk rock scene that is entirely new and completely their own. I can only imagine what is in store for this up-and-coming garage band from New Jersey and I’ll be the first in line to wait and see!