Record Review - 5 June 26 2002

Polara’s self-titled 1994 debut still ranks as one of the best Kevin Shields tributes ever — and that’s meant as a compliment. But whereas Shields’ band, My Bloody Valentine, wandered in an ambivalent haze, Polara’s Ed Ackerson has always put a graceful pop touch on his shoegazing ways.

But as it happens, the widespread praise for Polara’s debut led to a miserable two-album career with Interscope. And just like that, the Minneapolis band more-or-less veered off the radar screen for the next half-dozen years.

Proving that he still has plenty of genius left in him, Ackerson is back with the stellar Jetpack Blues. And while it doesn’t offer the sustained high of the first album, wigout guitar tracks (“Is This It?”) and wall-of-sound crushers (“Other”) combine for a satisfying listen. Pent-up melodies escape naturally this time around. And if, at times, Polara sounds like a happier, quirkier version of Bob Mould’s Sugar, the similarities exceed expectations.??