ACCORDING to Polish Club's publicity material their second album Iguana endured a difficult gestation.
"This album has been the most challenging creative thing I've ever done in my life," drummer John-Henry Pajak said. "I never understood why bands struggle with second albums, but now I totally get it."
Watching the Sydney rockers perform Iguana's tastiest cuts on stage at the Cambridge Hotel on Wednesday night, you would never has sensed the internal struggles it caused Pajak and his bandmate, singer and guitarist David Novak.
They were revelling in pure euphoria.
The Cambridge Hotel may have only been half full (the Wednesday night scheduling probably more to blame than Polish Club's appeal) but in their minds they were commanding a heaving auditorium.
"How good is Kalyn Ponga, Newcastle?" Pajak asked at one stage as he enjoyed a brief respite from his frenetic stick work.
It was that kind of night. There was ample mindless banter that kept Pajak, Novak and their unofficial third member, bassist and producer Wade Keighran, amused.
There were jokes about set lists being written on male appendages. "It would have to be a short set," Pajak said.
The crowd were also thrown a can of beer and mandarin pieces.
But, mostly, Polish Club delivered a slick and energetic performance.
The band's acclaimed self-titled EP (2015) and debut album Alright Already (2017) honed a blistering garage-soul sound. Imagine The Strokes being fronted by Otis Redding and you're getting close.
Whereas, Iguana has opened their songwriting to the possibilities of synths, R'n'B rhythms and chunkier riffs.
It's no accident the album was called Iguana. There's an almost-reptilian late-night vibe to the record, which Novak encapsulated in his stage performance.
With his Little Richard-style moustache and blonde slicked-down mohawk, he cast a stage presence that hovered somewhere between charismatic and harmless sleaze.
We Don't Care and Iguana introduced Polish Club's new sound in a flurry of bass-driven riffs before the sweet soul sway of older track Don't F--k Me Over showed off the purity of Novak's vocals and provided the first singalong.
Future single Breakapart proved the most popular slice of new material.
"So many of you knew the words and it hasn't been out a week," Novak said.
Many of the older tracks like Beat Up and Come Party sounded simplistic next to Polish Club's Iguana songs, but the audience provided the verve.
Polish Club have always been unashamed fans of '90s and early 2000s pop and R'n'B, so their funk-rock version of Ginuwine's Pony in the encore was glorious fun. It followed an earlier segue into MGMT's classic Electric Feel.
Taking a creative left turn, when you've already established a trademark sound, has been problematic for many bands. Take the aforementioned Strokes for example.
But you sense Polish Club have navigated their dramatic shift with aplomb and exciting times lay ahead.