Cast your minds back to a time when everything was so much simpler. The internet was just beginning to blossom as a place to gain information (and sometimes music). Mobile phones were bulky and nowhere near as fast and nimble (and hey, you could only call people on them). The CD still ruled our sound systems. Yes, technology was so much simpler-how did we ever cope? Around this time (1998) you may have also come across Pollen, who used to ply his trade with a full band by the same name in Australia but nowadays finds himself in Helsinki, Finland. That would be 2012 then, when Pollen (essentially, Australian Cameron Allen with a cast of revolving others that has spanned 13 different members) picked up the pieces again after a 10 yr hiatus. Zoom forward a few more years and Pollen is about to release his seventh album, the uber pop record Fox Sex, via Royal Mint Records toward the end of summer 2016.
From the mid-1990's onwards Pollen was seen as a bright spark of the then indie music scene in Australia. Shows with the likes of Beck, Pulp, Avalanches, Smudge and RATM (to name a few) ensured that when Pollen's debut album, 'The Glorious Couch Life' was released in 1998, the critical hosannas were sweet. Richard Kingsmill at JJJ even labelled the album "the most underrated of the year" whilst Rolling Stone opined that Pollen was "...something that's fresh, inspiring - and maybe even new" By 2002, Allen had become disillusioned with music and left Australia for Bristol. After 10 years in England, Allen decided to relocate and try the chillier climes of Helsinki. Now it was time for Allen to also reconnect to music.
Pollen's music has had slacker tendencies: in the early days Pavement, Pixies and American College indie Radio, could all be described as touchstones to what Pollen were about. Over the years, that sound has become eclectic, Pavement can still be heard here and there, but Pollen sounds more spontaneous and erratic. Allen says of his band's music "I guess there is a strong bipolar undercurrent in Pollen's music, except that the downswings and depressive episodes are disguised as upbeat happy-ish stuff. All is not as it seems: lyrics are abstract at times, child-like at others, changes can be random and incoherent. It is poppy but not quite. In tune but not quite. May be it is mid-fi rather than low-fi. Either way it is a lot less self-conscious now."
A low key return to the album format was signalled in 2013 when Pollen released a second album 'Our Frozen Sea' which was essentially a collection of contemporary long-distance bedroom recordings between Allen and bassist Chris Boughton who was with Pollen for 6 years. The album slipped out without much fuss but had some respectable streaming interest, much to the band's surprise. A split 7" single with Merries was released this year followed by a few low key shows in Helsinki. The reawakening of Pollen as a growing concern for Allen is confirmed with news that Fox Sex is actually the 5th LP released by Pollen in 2016 alone. Yep. This is the start of a consistent run from a high ouput artist.
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Nick Triani for Soliti Promotion