Kelley Polar

Love Songs of the Hanging Gardens (Environ Records)

The debut album from viola player and disco-dork-cum-regular-dork Kelley Polar, Love Songs of the Hanging Gardens, is a letter of acceptance to all who cut loose on the dance floor but probably shouldn't. See, Polar is the quintessential outsider (he was kicked out of Juilliard), and Gardens' charm is paradoxical — Polar is truly at home when he sounds most out of place. Against a slick boogie template, Polar's white-boy vocals stick out like a pocket protector. His nasal rhapsodizing takes cosmic turns on "My Beauty in the Moon" and "Black Hole" and is almost always multitracked for an effect that is a prog-ish drag on the lavish electronic disco that whizzes by him. Producer Morgan Geist approaches the boards with a tech-happy, early-Eighties electro aplomb that propels the straight dance numbers ("Here in the Night," "The Rooms in My House Have Many Parties") and beautifies the sophisti-pop that recalls Junior Boys after all their iciness has melted. Synths zap, keyboards quiver, bass lines quake with precision, and everywhere love is alive. Monkey-limbed freaks, unite: If you're dancing by yourself, you are not alone.

 
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