Los Angeles Police Department albumFor Those Who Like: Belle & Sebastian, Real Estate, early Death Cab for Cutie, Field Music

It’s pretty obvious that the one theme which dominates music is relationships – either finding love or getting over a breakup. These subjects are usually told in the form of a single song, but more and more frequently musicians are writing entire albums dedicated to this topic. Take Sharon Van Etten’s Are We There, which took us on a whirlwind of emotions as she described the importance and influence of her long-time partner. Whereas Van Etten’s take was heartrending, California’s Ryan Pollie, who goes by the moniker Los Angeles Police Department, takes a more upbeat poppy approach.

His self-titled debut album, which was released two weeks ago, consists of 11 bedroom, jangle-pop songs that describes the commencement and expiration of a relationship – and by “bedroom”, these songs were literally written in his bedroom. In addition, as Pollie opted to write and record each song in a day, there are imperfections with the record, such as tracks ending suddenly and unexpected distortion. These things, however, all add to the intimacy of the album, making you feel like Pollie is next to you singing the songs.

Another great aspect of the album is the pace and storytelling. Like a great movie or play and just like an actual relationship, there are peaks and valleys. The album, like a movie or play, has three acts. The first act is the oohing and aahing stage, where infatuation sets in (“Cave”, a summery pop tune), rationalizing why you like the person and the anxiety that sets in as you try to determine whether the other person likes you (“Go Down”), and getting over one’s fears to ask one out (the excellent, emotionally charged “Enough is Enough”).

Act Two is the relationship phase. It all starts with the lovey dovey stage (“The Only One”, as Pollie careens, “You’re the only one that I can be myself with”) and moves to the dependency (“She Came Through Again”), the love-is-an-impenetrable-wall (1,000 Leagues” which is Belle & Sebastian-esque), and the comfortable, I-can’t-wait-to-see-you-again (the melodic “Seven Months”) stages.

The final act is the end of the relationship. It begins with the slow deterioration of the relationship (the fantastic “Bishops Rd”), moves on to the separation and lonely nights (“August 31”), and concludes with the recovery phase (the upbeat “If You See My Woman”), where Pollie is able to move on but not necessarily forget.

Does Los Angeles Police Department have the best production? Definitely not, as it’s very much of a DIY album. And therein lies its beauty. It’s rawness and rough-around-the-edges approach gives the album its charm and perfection despite its many imperfections. Coupled with the ebbs and flows like a well-written story, this is an album to be taken seriously despite its poppy feel. In many ways, it’s like a Spike Jonze film – light and unpretentious, but meaningful and engaging.

Pollie’s Los Angeles Police Department can be purchased on Bandcamp, iTunes, Amazon, and eMusic. You can also stream the entire album on the Forged Artifacts Soundcloud page or just listen to it below.

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