We loved Pozi’s debut PZ1 last year. It’s an album as intense as it is musically unique. Their set up alone made Pozi’s sound a breath of fresh air. The violin, bass, drums dynamic is so rare, with Bas Jan being literally the only other band we can think of with (sometimes) this setup. To then apply this to twitchy, paranoid punk made Pozi really stand out. So, what of this new EP? Firstly, it’s more expansive, violinist Rosa Brook is far more prominent on this album. Whilst PZ1 was often dark in its nature, 176 EP takes it even further. If you strip away the music from the lyrical content, it’s bleak.
Opener “Whitewashing” is routed around a Lou Barlow-esque bassline (think Forget The Swan on Dinosaur) and driving drums, accentuated by violin stabs. All three members perform vocal duties; bassist Tom Jones takes the verses, drummer Toby Burroughs the chorus, and violinist Rosa Brook on backing vocals. As we’re used to with Pozi, the violin adds unsettling texture and detail, winding over the top of the motorik drums and bass. The lyrical themes of deception and paranoia.
From here on out this is a different Pozi. The title track 176 features Brook on lead vocals for the first time. Her voice is haunting, as images unravel of a character sitting on the 176 bus looking in despair at a country they no longer recognise following the Brexit result. The atmosphere is moody with sinister sounding effected bass and violin that sound almost like synths. This is offset by occasionally stuttering, almost disco drums. It’s more spacious than anything we’ve heard from them before, with Brook in the foreground, opening up a new pathway. The violin solo is super unsettling.
Continuing to embrace the multi-vocal approach the call and response The Nightmare is great fun. Jones shouts out a phrase, Burroughs expands on it, and Brook’s constant backing vocal builds tension. It culminates into a brilliant chorus. This is the closest we’ve heard the band get to pure pop. Still, it’s edgy. The bass is played up the neck and sounds akin to a classic Peter Hook bass line. The contrast between, and combination of, Pozi’s three unique vocalists is an absolute joy to behold.
40 Faces is a dissection of the disturbing nature of the human mind. Based around the theme of the paranoid mind, the protagonist wondering what their partner is doing while they are out. It’s another creeping, sinister track. The staccato plucked violin is deeply unsettling as the track builds with powerful vocals. They break it down before the bass drops and they work up a bubbling finish, with Burroughs’ drumming shifting the dynamic.
Rounding things off with While-U-Wait, a tale of a dog waiting to be put down, they create a chilling and nervous atmosphere with the sparse bass line and creepy percussion. Burroughs’ stunted vocal delivery is contradicted by Brook’s flowing drawn out calls that, again, provide a satisfying and haunting dynamic. There’s something almost Richard Dawson-esque about the melodies and theme.
There have been some fantastic EPs released so far this year, and this is yet another to be excited about. It’s great to hear Pozi expanding on what was already a fascinating sound, continuing to open up new avenues. If 176 EP is anything to go by the second album (PZ2 per chance?) will be an absolute treat.
176 EP is out now via PRAH Recordings
You may enjoy this if you like: Television Personalities, Joy Division, Wire, Hen Ogledd