Punknews.org
Polvo - Today's Active Lifestyles (Cover Artwork)

Polvo

Polvo: Today's Active LifestylesToday's Active Lifestyles (1993)
Merge Records

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: tidalslumbertidalslumber
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Throughout my college years, I despised Sonic Youth. Nonetheless, I was enthralled by the words used by my hipster friends when describing their music. I wanted to love a band whose songs inspired me to enthuse about each rambling lick as if it were a sentient entity. They argued over which seven-mi.
Amazon


Throughout my college years, I despised Sonic Youth. Nonetheless, I was enthralled by the words used by my hipster friends when describing their music. I wanted to love a band whose songs inspired me to enthuse about each rambling lick as if it were a sentient entity. They argued over which seven-minute epic on Daydream Nation flowed the best and I felt like my collection of hardcore and punk records just laid there like dead fish in comparison. Thankfully, my friends were open-minded and grew to share my love for Slint, Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 and Chapel Hill indie rockers Polvo.

Polvo's second album, Today's Active Lifestyles, is one that tiptoes through the tulips. While there is an urgency coursing throughout most of the songs, it often gets totally undermined by the interplay between the two guitarists: Ash Bowie plays tightly wound, punky riffs; Dave Brylawski strums loosey-goosey classic rock chords that veer all over the road. This strange dynamic lends even their catchiest moments a ramshackle charm. For example, "Tilebreaker" is an anthemic power-pop song at its core, yet the band performs it as if they were balancing on four wobbly hubcaps threatening to fall off at any moment. "Lazy Comet" features slow, quavering guitar lines but a snappy rhythm section, and strikes a Middle Eastern vibe that also shows up at other points on the record.

Upon first listen, these shifting dynamics will annoy many. While there is a substantial amount of interesting melodies from song to song, the arrangements often break away into something completely different before basking in them for too long. At least in that respect, Today's Active Lifestyles is extremely frustrating. But had they kept just one or two melodies per song, they wouldn't have sounded like Polvo -- just like a really good Slint/Dinosaur Jr. hybrid.

One of the few cited problems with this album has been the production; it's rather flat in some areas, and Ash Bowie's nondescript vocals are buried low in the mix when they probably could have complemented many of the melodies. However, since the tinny quality of their sound disqualifies Polvo from ever being considered an energetic rock band, it is far from a fatal flaw; it actually helps to emphasize their unique ambience and guitar interplay.

For those who decide to step boldly into this release, what you will get is a mixture of the screwed-up and the undeniably beautiful, with bizarre moments sticking out like sore thumbs. Together, these elements form the musical equivalent to an abstract painting. It is hard to understand at first, but over time its structure will unfurl before your eyes.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Operation Ivy - Operation IvyJawbreaker - 24 Hour Revenge TherapyTed Leo and the Pharmacists - Hearts Of OakAble Baker Fox - VoicesAlkaline Trio - GoddamnitTed Leo and the Pharmacists - The Tyranny Of DistanceColossal - Welcome The ProblemsJets To Brazil - Orange Rhyming DictionaryFugazi - The ArgumentBridge and Tunnel - East/West

Please login or register to post comments.What are the benefits of having a Punknews.org account?
  • Share your opinion by posting comments on the stories that interest you
  • Rate music and bands and help shape the weekly top ten
  • Let Punknews.org use your ratings to help you find bands and albums you might like
  • Customize features on the site to get the news the way you want.
Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
supertomato (September 20, 2009)

celebrate the new dark age and exploded drawing are two other great ones.
polvo live are a lot heavier and tighter than they are represented on their recordings. great band!

sexualsunshine (September 20, 2009)

This is just getting reviewed... what about the new one!

bytheslice (September 19, 2009)

Although Polvo did have a cool vibe and some good ideas, I think sometimes their songwriting could've been better. A lot of their songs just sound kind of dated now. And I actually like and respect them.

branden (September 19, 2009)

great album. "time isn't on my side" is one of those songs i can(and do) listen to on repeat.

DrGunn (September 19, 2009)

i love sonic youth. polvo is one of those bands i've always been meaning to check out but never got around to. slint comparisons are a good way to get me interested.

ffwoodycooks (September 19, 2009)

this album is such a great kick in the pants

Exclusive Streams

Sponsored


The Fest 13

Newest Reviews

Punknews.org Team

Other Places to Go