I have wanted to feel like a fairy since I was five, staring at the screen watching the Disney hit “Tinker Bell.” At long last, I have found something even remotely similar to that magical realm in the ethereal music of Caroline Polachek.
“Desire, I Want To Turn Into You,” might just be the most whimsical album that has ever graced my ears. Polachek artfully mixes acoustic and electronic elements to create a pop album that doesn’t feel tired. I can safely say that this music hasn’t been made before.
The album opens with “Welcome To My Island,” which has already been remixed by experimental pop queen Charli XCX and the 1975 drummer George Daniel. Polachek’s haunting vocals set the stage for a rousing 45 minutes of unsettlingly beautiful music, creating an island atmosphere that combines the vibes of paradise and “The Lord of the Flies.”
Her voice is carefully crafted to sound both highly edited and effortlessly natural. “Pretty In Possible” highlights this perfectly with almost-synthesized high notes. “Bunny Is A Rider” continues this practice, leaning more into editing her voice to highlight the bouncy drum track.
Polachek’s inclusion of acoustic instruments adds to the blurred lines between acoustic and electric, especially with the Spanish-style guitar in “Sunset.” She sings of an inescapable love, adding to the perpetual summer vibes of the album. Her vocals mimic a bird call in the post-chorus, once again adding organic elements. “I Believe” continues this trend, incorporating an organ midway through the song. It sounds more like an art piece.
Calling on experienced artists Dido and Grimes, “Fly To You” blends their voices in a mind-boggling melodic masterpiece. The overlap of their verses makes it feel like sirens swimming past each other in the water, uniting at the end to close it out. While individually different artists, their voices sound so similar that I lose track of who is singing when.
“Blood And Butter” is my pick for the best song on the album. It’s incredibly difficult to pick just one perfect song off this musical tapestry but this song hasn’t left my head since listening to it. From the seemingly random yet sensible bagpipe solo to the bass morphing to become drums, I can’t get enough. I need it to be summer so I can drive with the top down, blaring this song during golden hour.
The next three songs, “Hopedrunk Everasking,” “Butterfly Net” and “Smoke,” make me feel like I’m living inside a fairy garden. Polachek weaves in another organ section and metal clanging gorgeously. I can’t think of many other artists that could create music like this without it feeling forced and wrong.
“Billions” is the perfect album closer. Not many tracks fade out anymore in a way that makes sense, but “Billions” makes it feel like you’re departing Polachek’s island of delights.
Haunting, sexy, organic and synthetic — that's all you need to take away from this album. Want to prance around a daisy field, bare feet smashing into the ground? Put this album on to keep you dancing until sunrise.