- 23 Oct 19
Singer Channy Leaneagh recovers from a life-threatening accident on Poliça's new album When We Stay Alive.
Following singer Channy Leaneagh's near fatal accident, electropop outfit Poliça is back with new music. New single 'Driving' precedes the release of their fourth album When We Stay Alive, set to come out on January 31.
When Poliça's Channy Leaneagh fell off her roof while clearing ice in early 2018, she smashed her L1 vertebrae and battered her spine, leaving her in a brace with limited mobility for months. Yet When We Stay Alive, is not about one debilitating accident. It's about the redemptive power of rewriting your story in order to heal, and reclaiming your identity as a result.
With a video directed by Isaac Gale, Leaneagh explains the meaning behind the first single 'Driving' as she says, "Laying in bed, as I healed from a 10 foot fall of carelessness with my life, I would dream of running in green grass and tears would pour from my eyes. 'Running in the tall tear grass/imagine wanting life and the want remains.' That is a feeling to hold onto; that life is worth living even when all the towers are crumbling and this goes beyond my own little accident but the world around me. Following the crone into the sinking ship and having the chance to return without a shadow. Drive on, Drive on. A second chance you won't forget".
Listen to 'Driving' below:
While half of When We Stay Alive was written before the fall, and half afterwards, the tracks meld together in a coherent and redemptive sonic whole. Those written before the fall relay ideas with a more heightened sense of anxiety and distress.
Inspired by the power found in her healing process, on the second batch of songs Leaneagh tried a slightly different approach, working to reevaluate her past, difficult personal experiences and bring in a sense of insight, strength, and light that perhaps wasn't there at the time.
When We Stay Alive possesses a new confidence in its sound, reflected in its fierce, determined songs and anchored by the heavy synths and punctuating beats of Poliça co-founder and producer Ryan Olson. Over the last several years Olson and Leaneagh have widely collaborated with musicians from all over the world. As a result, their new album features one of the largest musical casts of any Poliça record to date.
To create the album, Olson brought his favorite collaborators into his studio for all-night sessions. He'd then send Leaneagh the files to write lyrics to while recovering at home, which she'd record alone or with engineer Alex Proctor. Drummers Drew Christopherson and Ben Ivascu colored the songs with a new approach – drastically changing the rhythmic dynamic from previous efforts by creating an indistinguishable hybrid of live and electronic instrumentation - and bassist Chris Bierden provided a melody-laden low-end as well as more layered backing vocals than ever before.
On Poliça's first three albums - and last year's Stargaze collaboration Music for the Long Emergency - Leaneagh focused on restructuring the world and her relationships within it. On When We Stay Alive, she realises the power in restructuring her inner self. The album's title references the idea of moving forward through life – our experiences, both good and bad – and what happens next with the strength we find.
"I had been living unconsciously in past trauma," Leaneagh says. "I don't want to deny something happened – this is not about repression – it's about taking the power back from the past, holding the power in the present, and creating a new story for myself."