Pozi have a back catalogue of sparse and angular tracks; spiky offerings of taut musicality and stark social commentary that were born out of Toby Burroughs, Rosa Brook, and Tom Jones creating tension from the interplay of their instruments. But the post-punk label often used to describe their music was one that they were keen to break away from and their new album Smiling Pools does just that, blending some optimism and playfulness in with the papercuts. There is still more concrete than countryside in their music, but Smiling Pools feels like nature is starting to reclaim the city. The album’s title was inspired by a palm sized, aqua blue, translucent plate showing a tranquil pool surrounded by animals Rosa found in a charity shop in Edinburgh. The name of the plate: ‘Green Briar Smiling Pool 1982’.

The band seem more comfortable in their own skin and having played together for over four years, you can hear the ease with which they now work in and around each other. This has also led to more experimentation such as on ‘Shut Up’ where the track came out of Brooks hitting the violin with a bundle of sticks, the use of spoons on ‘What You Came For’ or Mathias Arrignon’s environmental recordings used as the backdrop to the surreally beautiful ‘Somnambulance’.

The drums and bass are as conjoined as ever, driving everything like an analogue take on electronic instruments on tracks like ‘Pest Control’ or ‘M6 Toll’ which has the propulsion of Kraftwerk, or the motorik pace of ‘Faulty Receiver’. What makes Pozi so exciting is the colour and atmosphere that Rosa Brooks’ violin brings to their sound. Sometimes the violin smears sound as on ‘Somnambulance’, drifting like a menacing fog, or it might stab or strike out, like it does on ‘Heavenly’, but it is always shifting around, creating harmony or dissonance, uniting as often as it finds cracks to prise apart.

Pozi even leave us with ‘A Walk In The Park’, the album’s final track, which conjures up images of swinging from trees and happy children screaming before drifting into the ether with a final section of looped violin and a child’s voice saying “no, don’t do any pictures now. Um, it’s all finished”.

Pozi manipulate sound and create a tension between the familiar and the unsettling. The power of three is very strong on Smiling Pools as the band play with call and response and lock in their telepathic ability to make the trio sound like one organism. Their mix of cosmic sweetness and icy galactic swirls still comes with a sense of unease but this time they have managed to combine the lick a 9V battery with the sweet reward of a lollipop.

Pozi socials: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube

POZI on tour (check with DICE and WeGotTickets):
May 31 – The Complex, Edinburgh
Jun 09 – YES (The Pink Room), Manchester
Jun 14 – 100 Club, London
Jun 15 – Lost Horizon, Bristol
Jun 16 – The Joiners, Southampton
Oct 19 – Left of the Dial, Rotterdam, Netherlands

Review by Paul F Cook

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