(2020) Silver Scrolls - Music for Walks
Along with sourdough baking, home gardening and zoom calls, going for walks has become a signature activity during the pandemic. It’s a low risk, low effort, low tech way to be outside and moderately engaged with the world, and it can be done with pets, spouses, children or alone. Silver Scrolls, a new collaboration between Polvo founder Dave Brylawski and more recent Polvo addition, Brian Quast, jumps on the trend, sound tracking two side-long perambulations in this disc. Per the titles and the lyrics, one is urban, the other bucolic, but both proceed at an unbothered pace, layering soft vocals and twisted guitar licks over rambunctious explosions of drums. The four-part “Walk 1” wends through citified dream landscapes, its languid sprays of guitar coalescing, sometimes, into an abstract, slow motion chug that recalls late-career Sonic Youth. All four cuts juxtapose a lulling hum of guitar over fractious, kit-battering drum fills. The guitar strikes out, periodically, in a more emphatic way, the music rising up on its haunches for an instant and threatening a blow. But there’s very little in the way of crescendo or release, the tunes settle back almost immediately into a mid-temperature serenity. There is, overall, a very dream-like aura to these songs, which is reinforced by the lyrics. In part one, “Concrete Visions,” Brylawski murmurs about a dream in which he’s hanging with Rolling Stone saxophonist Bobby Keys. Later, in the closing “Concrete Reprise,” he confides, “I will walk until I sleep and I’ll walk some more in my dreams, this is where I wind up,” which seems sum up the intent and feeling of these pieces. “Walk 2,” the one in the country, is unexpectedly a bit rowdier and more rock than the first one. “Nature’s Promise” sounds a good bit like Lee Ranaldo’s solo work, which is to say like indie rock with a faint scrim of experiment over it. “Old Solace,” likewise, musters some lovely winding guitar tones and some crisp, unyielding drums, but fails to break the mold. Especially in conjunction with the two recent Polvo reissues — of Today’s Active Lifestyles and Cor-Crane — Silver Scrolls sounds a bit tame. The time signatures are less oddball, the alternative tunings, if there are any, are less overt, and of course, there’s only one guitar going. Music for Walks is like the activity it’s named after, pleasant enough but not revelatory, a way to pass the time.
Genre: indie-rock, psychedelic rock
Format/Info: Free Lossless Audio Codec, 16-bit PCM
Bit rate mode: Variable
Channel(s): 2 channels
Sampling rate: 44.1 KHz
Bit depth: 16 bits