Mick Polich - "Wood And Electricity"
(A.M.P. Records/Loadz Music/B.M.I. 2001)
From Aural Innovations #20 (July 2002)
I first heard Mick Polich's music when I reviewed The Electric Wellspring Music Co-Op and Mr Metalhead CD's last issue (AI #19), both projects that he's involved in. Wood And Electricity is similar to the Electric Wellspring CD in that it features a series of instrumental jams that are loaded with interesting guitar ideas. One of my complaints about Electric Wellspring was that the guitars were too often buried in the mix, which is far from the case on Wood And Electricity because guitar is the lead front-and-center instrument throughout the set.
The core of the music is in most cases standard melodic rock/jazz/blues. But what makes it interesting is the combinations of guitar parts and the sounds Polich's guitars produce. In fact, the tracks almost seem intentionally organized so as to get more engaging with each subsequent track. "Dahlonega" opens the set as a down ‘n dirty acoustic Blues guitar tune with percussion that gives the music a nice groove. "2+2=6" starts off as a Blues piece but then shifts to a melodic jazzier tune. Polich layers the guitars so that he's laid down a couple of strumming patterns against which he plays a jamming solo. "Sorrow In Our Hearts" is similar, but starts to reveal Polich's more inventive side with the tones he produces while soloing. Maybe it's the echo, or perhaps it's the way he multi-tracked his guitar parts... in any event it sounds nice. Jazzy but a wee bit trippy too. "It's What You Make Of It" is similar but takes the sound a step further. I'll call it cosmic acoustic prog-jazz guitar. Imagine some of Jimmy Page's old acoustic guitar bits in a more jazz-oriented context, but with hints of progressive rock as well. "Figure It Out" is a jazz fusion tune, but given a twist with those cool guitar sounds that I'm starting to detect as a trademark part of Mick's sound on this album.
Polich feels free to veer into different territory too. He shifts gears completely on "Jesus Is In The House", playing against a sample of an empassioned preacher ranting to his flock, and the guitar is characterized by more of an avant-garde free-improv style. "You Know What I'm Sayin?" is a Bluesy jazz tune with a drum ‘n bass rhythm keeping the groove in motion. I dig the freaky left-field take on conventional jazz, that also includes some mucho cool atmospheric guitar sounds. One of my favorite tracks on the disc. Finally, the closing track - "Turn That Wretched Noise Off!" - pissed me off a little. It starts as something of an avant-metal freakout tune. I was diggin the dirty metallic guitar and shifting chord patterns along with the shred soloing. And seeing that it was 8 minutes in length I was fired up to hear where Polich was going to take it. But alas... after just over a minute it ends and we wind up the album with several minutes of silence. Bit of a disappointment there.
In summary, Polich considers Wood And Electricity to be part of an on-going audio diary series, and as such it's more a collection of ideas than a precise musical statement. But it's an enjoyable listen and there's enough varied guitar sounds to keep the music interesting.
For more information you can email Mick Polich at: email@example.com.
Contact via snail mail c/o Mick Polich; 10400 Grooms Bridge Road; Alpharetta, GA 30022.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz