9/10 Brian Staff review, 27 September 2013
There's hardly any American rock bands I've heard over the years with a sound as utterly unique as Polvo's. I was greatly touched by something a member of Mogwai once said in the NME (back in the days when it was actually worth picking up) about a friend of theirs who had cried when he heard this Chapel Hill, NC bunch had split. This was, I believe, the same interview where they boasted about sticking vodka-soaked tampons up their arses but hey-ho, you can take the boys out of Glasgow but you'll never take...y' know.
Fast forward to 2008 and this much-revered bunch suddenly regrouped, playing shows and brandishing a fabulous, eagerly received new album to boot called 'In Prism'. This never seemed to gain proper European distribution at the time as Merge hadn't woken up properly to the possibility that people might want to buy their latest records over the Atlantic. Now that issue seems all sorted but I missed a chance to buy the vinyl which is a real bitch as it sounded from clips like their finest work since 'Today's Active Lifestyles' and that record was something very special indeed if you recall.
Enough waffle, sorry. "Wah! I didn't get my record, I hate you all". But hey, now we've got 'Sibera' which is their cold-wave electronica album produced by Biosphere. No it isn't, I'm being ridiculous - it's another wild-rockin' 'n' stomping Polvo gem. Crazy hooks and dynamic grooves all over the shop whilst they retain that classic laid-back vibe.
Yeah, to all you people who thought 'Exploded Drawing' and 'Shapes' were great Polvo albums - this shits all over those confused over-eclectic records, restraint busting and adventurous journeys no doubt, but ultimately direction-less and devoid of character as they often ditched the sonic idiosyncrasies that had made them so coveted. Namely those strange, drunken, off-kilter duelling guitars. That hazy, hazy Polvo sound, quite genuinely psychedelic and very intoxicating.
Yes, 'Siberia' bristles constantly with those glorious time changes and those bent guitar licks. It's a very cohesive, kicking and melodic album, the production is obviously cleaner than those 20 odd murky years ago.- studios have come a long way since - but to these ears 'Siberia' is as fine an album you could expect in 2013 from these old cult legends; it really could not be by anybody else and is a joy from start to finish.
Yes, I'm reminded why I loved them so much for the first half of my 20s hence this over-long and fawning write-up. Unlike many of their contemporaries (both living and dead), they sound more muscular, energised and inspired than ever. Dare I say Merge have got their real star players back on board. Fuck Arcade Fire.
YOUR RECENTLY VIEWED ITEMS
- Siberia by Polvo
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