It feels like not that long ago that Polka Wars released their post-Bani Bumi single, "Tien Shinhan". A slacker-ish laid-back energy permeates the track, leading the listeners to believe that Polka Wars will continue down that auditory path. Turns out, their musical progression went further than that.
After contributing a number to Sajama Cut's You Can Be Anyone You Want, the Jakarta indie rock outfit recently released their awaited "comeback" single, "Phases of Hue". While the track hits all Polka Wars' signature cues, it's also noticeably heavier than their previous releases.
"Phases of Hue" is Polka Wars' first single after guitarist Billy Saleh left the band, while also being his farewell message. It somehow feels apt—even symbolic—for the band's current state that the song was written while Billy was still in the band and finished after he departed. The uncertainty, turmoil of emotions, and subtly apparent fragility are present in the entirety of the track, both in its sonic texture and lyrics. "Phases of Hue" is Karaeng Adjie, Xandega Tahajuansya, and Giovanni Rahmadeva's resolve in reshaping Polka Wars to fit their (for lack of a better term) current phase of lives.
The single is rhythmic with dark undertones. As the band stated, they wanted to remove all pretensions before recording "Phases of Hue". It's a return to honesty in which they embrace the rawness of emotions more, without trying to make grand statements. "Faces of you/That faith is only what my heart conceives/Phases of hue/That ties to bed the movements that may be", sang Karaeng Adjie with an urgency that seems unfamiliar to Polka Wars. At times, the track can even seem brooding, but the build up to the end sounds increasingly brighter.
The outro features Billy Saleh's last contribution for the band, a guitar solo layered with dense textural arrangements. At 5 minutes and 14 seconds, the band found itself pondering who they are and resolving it within the climax.