Traditionally, the beauty of a Black Cab song takes grip gradually. Not so ‘Sexy Polizei’. It’s a looker from the start, a single that’s been crafted to lure the lascivious gaze of strangers. ‘Sexy Polizei’ will please fans both old and new. Like the two nerds in John Hughes’ Weird Science, who feed data into their computer to make the “perfect woman”, Black Cab’s creation has emerged from the machine sexy – and smart too.
The pulsating dance beat wasn’t a shock, exactly, but it was certainly bracing. However, once I’d stopped waiting for the guitar to gain dominion or for a layer of velveteen synth to descend, the haze from the proverbial smoke machine began to clear. It might be a catchy dance number, but Black Cab’s sound still simmers away beautifully under the beat as early ’90s atmospherics swirl up like steam from the pan. There are pert little drum gallops, feel-good techno curlicues and a soaring arc of synthesiser laden with sentimental echoes of U2’s ‘With Or Without You’. Yet there’s also a low-pitched buzz representing the often-inscrutable drone at the heart of Black Cab’s sound. The band claims a New Order influence on ‘Sexy Polizei’. It’s more The Cure circa Mixed Up or Depeche Mode around Violator. Put succinctly: it’s like taking a long, deep gulp of air from 1990.
To craft this more accessible track the band turned to sound engineer Simon Polinski, whose influence looms large. Polinski’s formative heyday was in the ’90s industrial dance techno scene alongside Psyharmonics label-founder Ollie Olsen (Max Q) and David Thrussell (Snog, Black Lung). Melbourne songstress Monique Brumby donates breathy backing vocals, which could just as easily suspend themselves in the drug-addled ether of an 18-minute trance track.
The song tells of a homicidal German highway patrolman (“Your hands are steady on the wheel/But you no longer feel”), with Andrew Coates’ mournful vocals – which temper the more upbeat aspects of the song – sounding as though he’s entered the scene of the crime too late. The overall effect is as warm, steamy and purposeful as the interior of a car streaking down a dark, rain-blurred autobahn (“I can feel you closing in on me /And you always get your man”).
There’s no LP in the determinable future for Black Cab. Rather, the song has been released to build a bit of buzz for their July east coast tour. Mainstream radio should do itself a favour – ‘Sexy Polizei’ could actually weather the storm of interminable playlisting.
Download the track for free, on bandcamp.