Polaris was the “house band” on Pete & Pete, which basically means they provided most of the background music. This strikes me as unusual, and I doubt many other shows hire bands to create the music that goes into the episodes.
Think back to the opening credits of Pete & Pete. In the credits, a band jams on the Wrigley’s lawn in the late summer. That is Polaris. The footage and music compliment each other well, and I feel like Polaris is somehow part of the soundtrack to my youth, even if I just got the record last year.
The record starts off with a short message to the space cadets and then “Hey Sandy,” the theme song to the show kicks in. I would describe Polaris’s sound as a blend between R.E.M.’s Murmur and a band like the Gin Blossoms. It’s jangly and melodic. There are harmonica solos and more pieces of advice to space travelers sprinkled throughout. They nailed the nineties alternative sound. Kudos to lead singer and songwriter Mark Mulcahy. Polaris is a one-album wonder; there is nothing else by them. My favorite moments include:
- “Waiting for October.” The quick start and the backing vocals in the chorus.
- The harmonica solo in “Everywhere”
- The last chorus in “Ashamed of the Story I Told”
- The last chorus in “The Monster’s Loose”. Honestly, they did not have to do it once more, but they got indulgent, and it works.