Bad Pollyanna, an alternative rock/pop band based in Huddersfield, have launched Prelude, a limited edition EP as a taster of their much-anticipated new album. To celebrate the launch, the band delivered a gig at their hometown venue of The Parish in front of a capacity audience on 15th November.
Support was provided by Liverpool-based rockers Novacrow, who (accurately) describe themselves as having a ‘sleazy heavy sound’. They delivered an energetic set, led by vocalist/guitarist Kitty Staunton. Their hugely enjoyable performance, which included their now famous kazoo solo in ‘Fat Frog’, delivered a lot of fun as well as great music, and succeeded in revving up the crowd for what was to follow.
Once Bad Pollyanna took the stage they launched into their set with ‘Bionic Heart’, from their 2015 album The Broken Toys. The song is a powerful opener and features a strong percussion backing, allowing drummer Ollie Goss an early opportunity to showcase his skills. Next up was ‘Monstrous Child’, the title track from the band’s debut album and by now a firm fan favourite.
‘Where Does It Hurt’ was a heady mix of electronica and driving riffs, provided by Paul Glover on lead guitar and Nikki Kontinen on bass. The riffs grew heavier still on ‘Hooks’, yet Olivia Hyde’s powerful vocals cut through the wall of sound, the lyrics exploring issues of coercion and control. ‘Hollow’ is another favourite, and was warmly received by the enthusiastic crowd.
We then reached a song from the forthcoming new album. ‘Sleeping with the Enemy’ is based upon Patricia Highsmith’s psychological thriller Edith’s Diary (although this version of the story has a more satisfying outcome for Edith). This track was well-received by the crowd, which bodes well for the album itself.
Next was ‘Pull the Trigger’, a ballsy song with vocals brimming with anger, perfectly matched by the intense guitar riffs. Then came ‘Define Me’ which has become an anthem for the band, and featured on both their albums. The song celebrates the acceptance of diversity, challenging people who seek to pigeonhole and condemn those they view as ‘different’.
‘Awake Now’ carried overtones of Evanescence, and was followed by the first of two tracks from the new EP. ‘Pair of Fools’ tackles dysfunctional/abusive relationships and getting out of them (‘Well join the club / You’re in love / But you still gotta leave’).
By now, some of the crowd were chanting “We want Science Milk” which prompted the band to launch into ‘Hookline’ (if you don’t get the in-joke, watch the YouTube video). As the name suggests, Hookline is a catchy track destined to become another favourite. The EP also contains a piano version of the song which brings the soulful lyrics to the fore and gives Olivia another opportunity to display her awesome vocal range.
‘Out of my Mind’ was followed by ‘The Escape’, another new track, and then by the achingly beautiful ‘I See You’ which features on The Broken Toys as well as the new EP. ‘I See You’ sends out a message of love and support to anyone who feels lost or misunderstood, and contains some of Bad Pollyanna’s most poignant lyrics (‘You need to know that I won’t reject you / Let’s unbreak your heart / You are not the voices that shame you’).
For an encore, the band played ‘My Incubi’ from Monstrous Child before a rousing finale with a cover of Rage Against The Machine’s ‘Killing in the Name’ (during which the audience demonstrated remarkable self-restraint from turning the venue into one big mosh pit).
This was Bad Pollyanna’s longest setlist to date, yet the crowd still wanted more. This outstanding gig showcased the band’s consummate skills not just as musicians and vocalists but also as songwriters, and the new material certainly whetted the appetite for their forthcoming album. It can’t arrive soon enough.
Monstrous Child, The Broken Toys and Prelude (EP) are available on the Glitch label. Further information about Bad Pollyanna can be found at https://badpollyanna.bandcamp.com.