Pollen, my good people of Leeds, are back. Back with a new download-only EP, to be precise, available from Monday 14th March at their site and jolly well worth your speedy surf across the world wide interweb.
Breaking out with an immediate vim and vigour to outstrip the previous introspection of their 'Lonely in the Crowd' demo, Pollen's teeth are bared with gnashing intent. They're displaying their sweaty side and boy, it's impressive; muscular, frighteningly and brilliantly oppressive in places, particularly in first track 'Def. Con', with vocalist Nick Toone's yelp licking and curling around the gurgling guitars. Similar crashing, bubbling and tumultuous throttlings of six-stringed instruments are present in title track 'Solider On'. Yet there's still an undeniably emotive and stirring quality to their music, the silver lining of plaintive mourning that Toone's voice possesses threading its way through the guitars' raw ferocity, sewn into his spitting delivery like the Jekyll to his Hyde.
My only qualm with Pollen on this showing is that the railing, biting, bristling tracks get their backs up a little too soon - arguably, much of the fabulously enticing, suspense-filled tension of before has been rejected in favour of a claws-out (albeit exquisite) clamour. Admittedly, we do have some deliciously threatening, dark power unleashing itself in 'Leave Quietly', but the climaxes would be all the more potent and heart-stopping were they not hit almost immediately - there's no satisfaction in climbing a mountain if you're sipping tea and admiring the view after having been deposited neatly at the summit by a helicopter. This great EP would be all the more brilliant if it contained its explosive energy just a little more patiently and THEN detonated, throwing out its flames to all corners of the stratosphere.
But, you know what? With Pollen's intensity, why should they wait to show us what they've got? This, then, is just a minor quibble of mine with all the significance of a solitary cornflake.
The bottom, essential line is that Pollen's music bursts and buckles at its golden seams with formidable, elemental force. Magnificent and mighty, their name won't be placed below the headliners for long.