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Polvo - Siberia CD (album) cover




Post Rock/Math rock

4.00 | 1 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A striking album from veteran indie band

Polvo is a veteran indie-rock band from Chapel Hill NC who have been around long enough to have a second act. Sounding like young guys from the band Television's sphere of influence, their initial run in the early 90s concluded in 1998 as the guys went their separate ways, due to geography and commitments. Their fans wouldn't let them go. So around 2008 these old friends reconvened for a five year stretch that produced two more albums. After recording "Siberia" they have again retreated to their wives, kids, and real jobs. If this album is to be their last gasp, the guys have went out on a high note.

Forget about "post rock/math rock" labels as this band doesn't need our PA monikers. This is an American indie rock band with a unique vibe. Their 1993 salad days college hangover masterpiece was amusingly called "Today's Active Lifestyles" and could be compared to Dinosaur Jr chilled out with a splash of REM. Downright reckless guitar wars and car stereo killers mellowed just a bit by a laid back, southern gent feel. "Lifestyles" defined their young man sound.

"We couldn't get in that old headspace again if we tried." -Diffuser interview 2013

Fast forward twenty years and college rockers are now parents, yet still great friends separated like many by busy lives. Their reunion yielded two more albums and this was their last.

On Siberia, Polvo sounds like a more svelte Mission of Burma meets Wilco.

Gone are some of the sharp edges and swagger, but none of the ragged beauty. The songs of "Siberia" simply have a bit more maturity, richness, and quality to them. They have a different mindset that wisdom, both in a musical sense and a life sense, bring to the table. But they haven't lost their ability to rock, nor have they gotten lazy in terms of sound and rhythm exploration. One senses the opposite-it took effort and commitment to reconvene one's "old bandmates" and that is an opportunity not to be squandered.

The money shot in this band is the ever-so-cool dual guitar weaves and dances. Despite these songs being more pre-written and less chaotic than days of old, there is still a vibe that anything could happen. Somehow these beautiful ringing chords spar with the layered notes all while serving more accessible songwriting, which boasts plenty of toe tapping and even some decent Jeff Tweedy-like croaking. "Old Maps" could even be an outtake from Midlake's "Van Occupanther." Bass and drums are as shifty as the guitars, certainly grooving, but always ready to list the boat off kilter just for fun. Much of the beauty comes not from the basic song or the jam necessarily, but from the outcome of the band's insistence that both must be equally elevated. The tiles are certainly cool but the good stuff is in the grout.

Ever evocative and never losing my attention, the tracks of Siberia are intelligent rock music not ready for the rocking chair.

Finnforest | 4/5 |


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