Since winning the Polish singing contest show Idol in 2004, Monika Brodka has become a certifiable pop star in her home country. Her three Polish-language records -- 2004's Album, 2006's Moje piosenki and 2010's Granda -- all showcased a burgeoning talent capable of standing out from many of her peers in the electro-pop field. With Clashes, her English language debut, Brodka has ratcheted up the stakes substantially as she nears a breakout with her most compelling effort to date.

On the album's first track, 'Mirror Mirror,' Brodka's voice is the first thing one hears, as it echoes and reverberates all around. Her voice is swiftly followed by a haunting crackly twinkle, which dances delicately around a taut bass line. Brodka's atmospheric vision for Clashes quickly comes into view and it can be quite compelling.

She has stated that the album was greatly inspired by childhood memories of being in church. "I realised that my very first musical experience was from the church and from the mass," she explained. "I was really into the whole ceremony, this place that worked for all the senses and I was really attracted to church organs... I really wanted to build a dynamic in these songs, build the theatrical feeling."

While it isn't hard to imagine the church Brodka described while listening to this record, there is always another more modern image tugging at the listener's mind simultaneously. Perhaps the most compelling quality of Clashes is its innumerable contradictions. The album is seemingly spacious and airy, yet also confined and claustrophobic. The melodies are sleek and fresh, yet also have roots that can be traced to more traditional Slavic tunes. It makes for a gripping experience on more than a few occasions.

'Horses' does an excellent job of encapsulating the album's thought-provoking and contradictory nature, as Brodka described the track to The FADER as a "spiritual metamorphose" about the glorification of metal and "an escape into an imaginary world." Brodka delicately coos, "I am a car crash girl" as the song's ethereal instrumentation swirls around her voice. Pounding drums that never quite thunder enter into the mix as Brodka sings about trying to finding an escape within one's own mind. This song is, in many ways, the crystallisation of Clashes' best qualities.

Clashes is at its best when it walks the thin line between contemporary and traditional, but that can be a fine line to keep. As a result, some tracks on here, such as 'Can't Wait For War,' fall a tad flat. And while the album does maintain a pretty consistent and coherent style of instrumentation and production, the breakneck punk of 'My Name Is Youth' does come a bit out of left field and collapses just as abruptly as it appears. It is by no means a bad song, just an out-of-place one.

Still, there is no denying that when Brodka hits the mark here, she hits it hard. The transition from Polish to English seems to have hurt in no noticeable way, while her great songs are greater than ever. There is work to be done, but this is a bold foray into a new chapter for this young artist. Clashes is an imperfect pop record, but one that clearly shows an evolving pop star who is a few small pieces away from an absolute international breakout.