Polvo
Today's Active Lifestyles


4.0
excellent

Review

by The Katz brothers USER (183 Reviews)
February 16th, 2008 | 55 replies | 9,554 views


Release Date: 1993 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An inbred marriage of proto-post rock and harsh guitar-based indie rock.

Polvo: it means dust in Spanish. Appropriate for a band that a decade after their heyday would be deemed “destined for indie-rock obscurity” by the biggest hipster rag in America. But whether or not Today’s Active Lifestyles exhibits a band that is just that, or something far more impressive and endearing is up to the listener.

And it seems like they’ve spoken. I mean, when was the last time you heard anyone talk about Polvo? And I don’t mean your immigrant maid.

Regardless, Today’s Active Lifestyles is a great release from a band whose sound is exciting, even after so many years. The mathy dissonance, twisting melodies and ear-piercing harmonics that get coupled with such sweet vocals might remind of Yo La Tengo covering Slint, but ‘Sure Shot’ has much more clear contemporaries. For this song imagine early Flaming Lips (it’s the chorusing effect and the idle drumbeat that do it) but far more proficient at their instruments, and with a different goal in mind. On ‘Stinger (Five Wigs)’ the music is more hectic and confusing, but the clarity of each instrument is something truly impressive. It’s also the longest song on a CD with a fairly manageable duration, which makes it stick out all the more.

Another thing about Active Lifestyles that impresses, however subtle it may be, is the bass. Bass guitarist Steve Popson has a fairly lame tone, it’s flaccid, far too low and lacks the punch of the band’s guitar-sound, but that’s exactly why it succeeds. It’s so different-sounding from the guitar, an ever more present feature in the record’s mix, that it stands out and becomes audible. But that’s not to say Polvo isn’t a guitar band through and through, because they certainly were. And who wasn’t in ’93? Tuned oddly, angular, indistinct and played with persistence and vigor, guitars are really what define Polvo. And at the risk of making this into a track-by-track by describing three songs chronologically, ‘Tilebreaker’ is the personification of all these traits. Bassy bass, noisy guitar, and one of the record’s most complete and enjoyable choruses to boot: it’s hard to say that ‘Tilebreaker’ really isn’t everything this record stands for in one track. I’m not going to sit here and say this band hasn’t faded into anonymity, nor that they were entirely pivotal in the evolution of the genres of Math Rock, Post Rock and Indie, but they sure did write some good stuff.

- Joe



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user ratings (76)
Chart.
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
MediocreAtBest
February 16th 2008



1473 Comments


This sounds interesting. Good review.

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
February 16th 2008



2806 Comments


I really need to hear this. Nice review.

BringHomeTheBacon
February 16th 2008



248 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This and their Celebrate the New Dark Age ep are excellent. Good concise review. Have you listened to any June of 44 or Rodan?

HighandDriving
February 16th 2008



3232 Comments


YEYE JUNE OF 44!

Good review I'm checking it out now since I'm sick/high and have nothing better to do.

HighandDriving
February 16th 2008



3232 Comments


This sounds fuc king amazing, thanks for bringing this too my attention.

Killed4less
February 17th 2008



328 Comments


This sounds great, nice review.

Ohh
February 17th 2008



115 Comments


goodd review, you sold me on this one.

YDload
February 17th 2008



1207 Comments


[quote=BringHomeTheBacon]This and their Celebrate the New Dark Age ep are excellent. Good concise review. Have you listened to any June of 44 or Rodan?[/quote]

I actually don't think Polvo sounds THAT similar to Rodan. I've always thought of Polvo as Sonic Youth + Pavement but Rodan is like Slint + some hardcore band.

Yeah I like Rodan better but Polvo at least has more material. I've only heard Exploded Drawing and it's really good, so I'd be interested to see how this one compares.

samariah
February 18th 2008



109 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i prefer this to exploded drawing

MrKite
February 18th 2008



5020 Comments


This is really good stuff.

HighandDriving
March 2nd 2008



3232 Comments


I've listen now to both this and exploded drawing and I think I like exploded drawing more.
I like the how the vocals are lower in the mix on this though.This Message Edited On 03.02.08

LordGreekFolder
March 27th 2008



7 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This record is truly amazing. As for Rodan vs. Polvo, I cannot decide between the too. They are both two of my favorite bands and in my opinion are very different from one another.

Rodan is a Dionysian dichotomy of Beauty and Chaos channeled through an adept and inventive take on the Louisville Sound.

Polvo is an energetic and innovative guitar driven band. They however do not as strictly apply the structure Rodan makes use of, and therefore their music at times sounds like it is quivering, as if something were trying to ascend out of the noise and be seen.

Aficionado
March 27th 2008



1027 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

and in comes again yet another user who registers to post an obscenely serious post about their favourite band ever and 'how its influenced' them and then they leave to never come back ever again.

LordGreekFolder
March 27th 2008



7 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Take it easy, man. Where did I mention myself being influenced by these guys? Or perhaps the wording was lost upon you? I was only trying to distinguish between the two bands with a short and easily digestible comment on each. I apologize if some of the references were over your head, but I was only trying to best say what I wanted to say.

Don't be so quick to make assessments, cool down, and use that energy to do something rather than belittle a new-comer.


Aficionado
March 27th 2008



1027 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

oh ok understood, my apologies

porch
October 27th 2010



8390 Comments


great album

WeepingBanana
December 12th 2010



9897 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

just listened to this album. pretty sweet. probably gonna be listening to it a lot

Goatlord
December 11th 2011



405 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I don't think I'll ever grow sick of this record.

Spare
March 8th 2012



5223 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

could use a 5/5 review

chambered69
March 8th 2012



1253 Comments


this band is good



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