20 Watts

20 Watts Reviews Polvo’s In Prism by JohnCassillo
Polvo's In Prism triumphantly ends the band's long hiatus

Polvo's In Prism triumphantly ends the band's long hiatus

PREVIEW: DOWNLOAD Polvo’s “Beggar’s Bowl” MP3
WE GIVE IT: 16/20 Watts

Polvo, Spanish for dust and also slang for sex in Spain, is a very influential yet overlooked alternative/indie band that originated in Chapel Hill, NC during the late 80’s. Accredited with contributing to post-hardcore/punk, math and indie rock styles, they’ve recently been making a comeback.

Thanks to Explosions in the Sky, who selected bands for the 2007 All Tomorrow’s Parties Weekend, Polvo were permanently reunited, and have been performing live nonstop since their reunion at ATP. Their first newly recorded effort In Prism is an incredible album that will give new fans a true taste of their indie- and math-rock roots.

The album encompasses Polvo’s trademark gnarled and dissonant guitar riffs, in addition to more powerful percussion from new drummer Brian Quast. Beautiful guitar overlays give songs like “A Link in the Chain” an ethereal, creepy quality that’s enjoyable to the right pair of ears.

With the help of new recording technology previously unavailable to Polvo during their heyday (Exploded Drawing and Today’s Active Lifestyles), they’ve created a beautiful and full hi-fi record that is not only a great comeback album, but also a progressive recording for the band.

Musically, Polvo has succeeded in integrating their staccato stammering and dissonant guitar lines with strong and coherent song structures. The weird, creative sounds are well-blended, and become an asset in songs like “Right the Relation” and “Beggars Bowl.” “Dream Residue / Work” and the aforemetioned “A Link in the Chain” also trail deeply into psychedelic and world music territories.

First time listeners beware: Polvo is spontaneous and may cause confusion and horror.  You may find yourself contemplating what “indie-rock” should sound like, and possibly the meaning of life.  To avoid an existential breakdown, ask a friend to stay sober while you take your trip to In Prism.

— Andrew Nerviano

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