Exploded Drawing

Exploded Drawing

“Fast Canoe,” the opening track on Polvo’s 1996 double album Exploded Drawing, might be this Chapel Hill quartet’s penultimate statement. A shimmering, ragged march that is as much a funeral ritual as it is a pulverizing anthem, “Fast Canoe” proved that Polvo had a sound entirely distinct from their indie rock peers. Exploded Drawing is a 60-minute behemoth, and its density and weight can make it a trying listening. The best way to navigate is to take in stride the detours into bizarre Asian folk music (“Passive Attack”) and detuned meltdowns (“Missing Receipts”) and wait for the songs that match the majesty of “Fast Canoe.” “Bridesmaid Blues,” “High-Wire Moves” and “In This Life” are shock-therapy pop music on par with anything by the Pixies. All the thrashing energy and blue-spark electricity culminates on “When Will You Die For the Last Time In My Dreams,” an 11-minute closer that is Polvo’s own “Cortez the Killer.”

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