I Am the Polish Army, 'My Old Man'
"You Don't Know" – the first track on the debut album by this Brooklyn trio led by singer-guitarist-songwriter Emma DeCorsey – sounds like grunge never ran out of gas: a dark, roundabout guitar riff; the way DeCorsey's sharp, plaintive voice harmonizes with that hook, Kurt Cobain-style; the snap to attention in the chorus. But then "David Bowie" pulls you hard into the present as DeCorsey confesses – in chant-like anguish against a hammering motif and yowling guitar – her competitive frustration ("Cursed here to have never made it/Victim of my own good nature") and the compound ache of listening to the last music of a treasured icon. In this era of near-daily rock & roll passings, DeCorsey hits that intersection of pain where profound loss meets the fear that an age has truly passed and you've missed the chance for your own voice to be heard. The credits note that DeCorsey wrote these eight songs – including the Soundgarden-like avalanche of "Dead Cat" and the frantic, choral slice of the title song – over a decade. She didn't waste the care or patience. On My Old Man, I Am the Polish Army have delivered the year's best rock & roll album about time running out – and making the best of everything of you have to give. David Fricke