Caroline Polachek performing in 2021FLICKR/ ERIN McCORMACK,

When an album opens with the primordial howls and whistle tones of a woman sensually possessed by a deified imagining of Desire, you know you’re in for a feral 45 minutes of indie pop perfection.

Caroline Polachek began her career as the voice of Chairlift, a band that released three albums between 2008 and 2016, before deciding to part ways in 2017. A couple of years later, Polachek released her solo debut Pang to cult acclaim, exploring in it a range of synth pop, alongside experimentation with her distinct, siren-esque vocals.

“You know you’re in for a feral forty-five minutes of indie pop perfection”

Desire, I Want To Turn Into You followed just under four years later: an album created in bursts between touring, exploring possibility and chance. “Pretty in Possible” picks this up with a deliciously catchy melody and lush production, taking us deeper into Polachek’s “island” to which we have been aptly welcomed; welcomed by a (in her words) “bratty” and gloriously camp opener that lends itself perfectly to Polachek’s experimental tastes in pop.

What elevates this album is its sense of playfulness. With an LP dedicated to the age-old muses of love and desire, it might be feared that it would be unimaginative, but Polachek’s dedication to exploration prevents this. “Bunny is a Rider” follows “Bunny”, the ever-elusive heroine living on spontaneous fantasy, underpinned by a frisky bassline: “anyone can be bunny, at least for three minutes and seventeen seconds”, says Polachek. The Spanish classical influence of “Sunset” and the somehow perfect appearance of bagpipes in “Blood and Butter” sees the album stretching across seas and skies, searching and finding beauty in what might be seen as incongruence.

Caroline Polachek - Bunny is a Rider (Official Video)Caroline Polachek

The album is at its peak in Polachek’s most exploratory offerings, including “Crude Drawing of an Angel”, “Butterfly Net”, and “Billions”. Polachek’s voice has always been of some ethereal control, but here she stretches to new levels. Though her vocals are often artfully embellished with autotune, her live performance (which I had the pleasure of experiencing in Hammersmith, on the day of the album’s release) confirmed that her actual vocal capabilities are nearly identical to those she features in the studio, while her energy is just as visceral. “Billions”, one of my favourite songs of 2022, features Polachek’s melody deftly sliding between soaring highs and guttural lows of love, embroidered with a flickering beat and a full Vespertine-esque choir: heart unbreaking, music and body upgraded.


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Polachek’s sophomore album feels like the celebration of the survival that “Parachute” stood for at the end of Pang. A lot of the album’s imagery features classical influences; the cyclops chasing after her in the “Bunny is a Rider” video, as well as the wine making, cornucopia bathing, Dionysian visuals of “Billions’’. Desire, I Want To Turn Into You is Polachek’s Odyssey towards love, and what she has crafted along her journey is a perfect array of songs that tap into the melodic highs and gritty lows of passion, equally creating moments of quiet meditation, ecstatic joy, and the simple desire to gyrate and lose your mind alongside someone you’re falling madly in love with.