1993, Music

Today’s Active Lifestyles (1993) by Polvo

Imagine if Sonic Youth played Pavement-style indie rock (albeit longer songs), but more of a post-hardcore version of Pavement without their idiosyncrasies, you may get some vague idea of what Polvo sounds like. RYM lists them as a Math Rock band and frankly that mystifies me, even in the context of the early 1990s, but I guess you can add that to the mix. (Though I feel like, given the nature of Sonic Youth’s music in the 1980s, making that comparison to Polvo gives you some idea of the sound of the guitars without pretending this a math rock album.)

This is aggressively weird and difficult stuff, full of weird tunings and lots and lots of distortion and (deliberate) bum notes. Though very firmly “post hardcore,” it’s also hard for me to imagine a band like this being able to release anything without the existence of Sonic Youth (and earlier post hardcore bands) increasing the tolerance in the US for music that is this noisy.

And therein lies my own personal struggle: I like this record very much as an idea but, as yet, it hasn’t quite grabbed me. I think that’s because it’s not quite as immediate as some post hardcore – there’s a definite slacker vibe to this music, especially on what you might hilariously call “the ballads” – and because, as befits this type of music, the songs are not necessarily the catchiest.

That just means it may take me a few more listens before I come to love it, but I definitely like and respect it and its’ a unique place they’ve found themselves in, bridging words, so to speak.

7/10

  1. “Thermal Treasure” – 4:32
  2. “Lazy Comet” – 3:49
  3. “My Kimono” – 2:21
  4. “Sure Shot” – 3:24
  5. “Stinger (Five Wigs)” – 7:23
  6. “Tilebreaker” – 4:09
  7. “Shiska” – 1:30
  8. “Time Isn’t On My Side” – 3:06
  9. “Action Vs. Vibe” – 3:43
  10. “Gemini Cusp” – 7:05
  • Ash Bowie – vocals, guitar
  • Dave Brylawski – guitar, backing vocals
  • Steve Popson – bass guitar
  • Eddie Watkins – drums

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