Sean Poluk – No More Hate
CD: 12 Songs, 43:00 Minutes
Styles: Drone/Trance Blues, Roots, Americana, All Original Songs
When it comes to socially-conscious art, the message is often more important than the medium. Exhibit A: the title track of Canadian Sean Poluk’s No More Hate. In this era of tribal politics and polarization, we need such a sentiment more than ever. Musicians and other artists are often at the forefront promoting them. When done well, “woke” art truly wakes people up. As for this CD, it’s a mixed bag. Its ethos is empowering enough, but the music is both enigmatic and heavy-handed. Most of the twelve tracks are drone/trance blues, a la the North Mississippi Hill Country. One could also deem them roots, folk, or Americana. Vocally, Sean sounds rather like a subdued Dave Matthews, which is a plus. Another is the harmonies added by his backup singers. “Meditative” would be a good adjective for this sort of blues, perfect for a day of chilling out.
Poluk’s website reveals quite a bit about his debut CD – and, inadvertently, this one: “An established and respected member of the blues community, Sean Poluk released Never in 2012. Featuring Spanish as well as Canadian backing musicians, the album generated critical acclaim and glowing reviews in both countries. Blending old with new in a refreshing, authentic manner, Never is an aural hootenanny, a seamless mix of blues and roots-oriented panache. In 2014, Sean released a series of live performance videos to showcase new songs and promote his growing repertoire. Never content to stand still, the artist is continuously writing new music.” “Aural hootenanny” also describes this release, especially in regards to its Hill Country vibe.
Along with lead vocalist and guitarist Poluk are David Moreira on violin and viola; Edith Salazar and David de la Fuente on background vocals/choirs; Daniel “Melón” Jimènez on Spanish guitar; Osi Martínez on harmonica; Edith Salazar on keyboards; Josè Vicente Muñoz on double bass and electric bass, and David de la Fuente on percussion and drums.
The title track hits like a sledgehammer, both in its biting guitar intro and no-nonsense lyrics.
Track 02: “No More Hate” – “June 17, 2-0-1-5. Charleston, South Carolina. Nine dead, five survivors. One flag to remind us: no more hate.” Let’s face it, folks, this is the “Ohio” of the 2010’s. Even its hard-driving rhythm is reminiscent of Neil Young’s legendary eulogy. Sean proceeds to name the victims in the course of the song, reminding us that they were each an individual human being. That’s what those who perpetrate violence so conveniently ignore.
There are no barroom stomps, earworm sing-alongs, or surefire dance floor hits here, but that’s not the purpose of this CD. On No More Hate, the message surpasses the medium every time.