MP3: The Polyamorous Affair – “White Hot Magic”
After assaulting the disco floors with their self-titled debut album, The Polyamorous Affair is set to release their second collection of up-all-night revolutionary electro-dance magic, Bolshevik Disco, on Manimal Vinyl this summer. Known for evolving the psychedelic and pumping disco sounds once explored by T. Rex, Blondie, Roxy Music, ABBA, and Bowie, the celestial pairing of Eddie Chacon and Sissy St. Marie specializes in surreal and infectious party jams based in the heart and the soul. Together, the two deliver the inspired dance beats of Giorgio Moroder and the raw sexuality of Serge Gainsbourg’s collaborations with the lovely vixens Jane Birkin and Brigitte Bardot. Give that a twist of Marc Bolan-esque hooks and Goldfrapp’s technological pagan naturist ways and you have The Polyamorous Affair. While their music may sometimes be unassuming in its simplicity, it’s unbelievably deft in the manner it plants its hooks into your heart, and well, even your dancin’ booty.
Eddie’s been a musical presence since his early teens when he formed a neighborhood band with Cliff Burton of Metallica and Mike Borden of Faith No More, and over the years, he’s managed to sell 8 million albums and singles as a writer, producer and singer. Just to give you a couple of his career high points, he worked on 2 Live Crew’s “Me So Horny”, busted out the number one single “Would I Lie to You” with his neo-soul duo Charles and Eddie, and sharpened his producer chops with legendary Dust Brothers (The Beastie Boys, Beck, Rolling Stones). After years of searching for a true muse, he found it in the heavenly form of Sissy St. Marie, a former school teacher whose angelic voice prompted Eddie to lock her reluctantly in a recording booth and set her sultry calls to tape. While Sissy’s vocals have been compared to those of Nico and Debbie Harry, Eddie’s voice has taken a turn from its soul background and here finds itself more Bowie than Marvin Gaye, more restrained and stoic, though unable to fight away the occasional visits to Bee Gees-esque falsetto territory.
In finding the sound and feel of Bolshevik Disco, Eddie and Sissy took much of their inspiration from classic and cult movies: the cold winters of forbidden love between Yuri Zhivago and his beloved Laura, the enigmatic sexual awakening of O., the on and off screen eeriness of Rosemary’s Baby, the alchemic symbology of Jodorwosky, the supernatural lust of 80’s fantasy films such as The Hunger and Cat People, the ominous retro-futuristic detachment of Blade Runner, and the comic book camp of Italian cult film Baba Yaga. And with those seasonings in the grinder, it was a friend’s eyewitness tale of a Russian dance club experience that set them going with the concept of Bolshevik Disco, a nightclub world where patrons were put through a “Face Control” and then directed down one of two tunnels. At the end of the tunnel, the revelers-to-be would either find themselves in the cold snowy outside or in the warm vibrations of a disco-lit club, depending on whether or not their faces had passed the test. This idea of a fascist controlled nightlife was soon twisted by Eddie and Sissy into, not a world where people are left out of the fun, but instead a world where everyone is ordered to have fun…on the dance floor.
On Bolshevik Disco, the duo paint a picture of mystical lovers, whose utopian fantasies reach a fever pitch resulting in an absurd, anti-establishment, bohemian disco revolution mob busting down velvet ropes and demanding fun for all, one world united under the flashing disco lights, dancing and sweating together, embracing love and the groove as one. And oddly, there really is no way to escape the call of the Polyamorous beat, I challenge you to listen to their charge and not find your feet moving about with a life all their own.
It’s a beautiful thing when a band can evolve as artists and find ways to be innovative, and here The Polyamorous Affair has managed to do just that. What makes The Polyamorous Affair what it is, their playful childlike spirit, has been kept intact and allowed to wander into further realms in search of adventure. With “Face Control,” the revolution begins as all are called to the floor by Sissy’s beckoning whispers and a pumping beat. Simply put, their sci-fi dance take on Lou Reed’s “Satellite of Love,” which has Sissy playing it straight like an android waxing nostalgic about her childhood memories of baby spiders, has twisted a powerful original tune into something equally powerful, though wholly different. “White Hot Magic” is undeniably a dance anthem for many a night, the song you’d be playing at full blast to get ready for the night or just to keep it going. It’s the kind of the song that might even have the power to slow down time and make the night last forever. With “Fashion,” Eddie calls us to push our fashion to the limit with a bouncing beat, flowing keyboards, and hand claps. And damn if you don’t want to do what he says. On “New York City,” Eddie and Sissy duet about their search for one another, which in truth is a tale that is another story for another day. While it’s a slower jam, it’s able to dance on your heartstrings a bit with its emotionally tinged synth symphony. With “You Are,” the lovers duet again, playfully exploring the mixed feelings of falling in love in a Bardot/Gainsbourg playing Barrow/Parker tit-for-tat style, and sweeping us up in what would seem to be like a very lovely Valentine date to witness, one full of love, wry cleverness, odd references, and a hip swaying groove. With “In Love,” Eddie and Sissy harken back to the days of 54 with thumping beats, the soaring twirl of ABBA type synths, and background harmonies that leave us barely able to control the ecstatic need to feel and spread love all around.
Bolshevik Disco in its entirety is much like a Ziggy Stardust type saga dressed in revolutionary regalia, an epic shot of love and good times. In dark times such as these, The Polyamorous Affair help us once again to escape, for 10 songs at least, into a fantasy world that is hard to leave, but thankfully very easy to visit.
Now, we’ve spoken about Eddie and Sissy’s vibrant and cathartic music for some time, but it must be said that their live show takes their music to a whole new level entirely. Their interactive and inclusive stage show has sold out clubs from LA to London with its incorporation of a militaristic Russian soldier, bohemian gypsy peasant costumes, puppet robots, psychedelic eye candy projected larger than life by digital media pioneer Mr. Cocoon, and their euphoric music spun by the androgynous DeJa Francios (Daniel Ribiat of Cinema Strange). But, with all that being said, as with most grand experiences, it is much better to witness such a magical spectacle rather than to have me try to find the fancy words that fall short of explaining its full glory.
If you’ve ever wanted to visit the Russian version of 54…if you’ve ever danced alone in your apartment to disco or even the Human League, When In Rome, or Eurythmics…if you’ve ever wished there was good dance music out there at all…if you’ve ever been in love…then you owe it to yourself to dig into Bolshevik Disco.
THE POLYAMOROUS AFFAIR
06/28 Los Angeles, CA Echoplex
10/04 Joshua Tree, CA Manimal Vinyl Festival
10/20 New York, NY Cake Shop (CMJ)
The Polyamorous Affair
Street date: July 14, 2009
1. The Interrogation (Intro)
2. Face Control
3. Satellite of Love
4. White Hot Magic
6. New York City
7. In Love
9. You Are
10. The Fader
THE POLYAMOROUS AFFAIR LINKS:
MySpace – www.myspace.com/thepolyamorousaffair
Label Page – www.manimalvinyl.com