About 90 seconds into the first track on The Polar Ends, Oregon-based singer-songwriter Eric Tollefson plainly sets the tone for his highly anticipated sophomore album: “Love will come racing through your veins,” he sings in his resolute baritone. “Who would’ve thought it’s a poisonous thing?”
Heart is the essence of this talented Alaska native’s charming music. His songs are a deep and satisfying exhale, as if Tollefson sings primarily to rid his ribcage of the sorrow, satisfaction and rich stories that simmer within it. His sound breathes the doleful spirit of the blues yet pulses with savvy pop sensibility, whether he’s transmitting it via a muscular electric groove or a gorgeous, gently plucked acoustic guitar
Simply put, The Polar Ends sounds terrific. Recorded in large part at a remote studio atop densely forested rolling hills near Charlottesville, Virginia, Tollefson gathered a select group of musicians from both coasts in April of 2011 to turn his ideas into reality. Surrounded by the thunderous rhythm section of Jay Foote and Brian Jones, guitarist Sam Kearney and producer/engineer Rob Evans, he created an eight-track album where pure rock ‘n’ roll sits comfortably alongside lovelorn laments, and where mournful strings, swooping guitars, ethereal background vocals and purposeful tape hiss all make perfect sense. Taken as a whole, The Polar Ends is more than the next album from a confident young singer-songwriter. It feels like a vibrant introduction to a vital new recording artist.