Polmo Polpo - Like Hearts Swelling
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Polmo Polpo
Like Hearts Swelling

It was just over a year ago that I heard the debut release by Polmo Polpo (aka Sandro Perri) entitled The Science Of Breath. That release was a compilation of different 12" releases that he had done to date, yet it had a cohesive-ness and teemed with such life that I immediately bumped him up my lists of artists that I was really, really freaking excited to hear more from. Like Hearts Swelling is his follow-up, and it's an absolutely amazing textural experience. Although it moves in slightly different directions than that debut release, it's a disc that has grown on me with each subsequent listen and played at high volumes may induce palpitations.

When I first saw that the release only contained 5 songs, I was a little confused at first, then realized that things like this always need time to develop. Clocking in at just over 45 minutes, the album is definitely a slow-burner, but one that just keeps enveloping the listener with new sounds and layers. The opening track of "Romeo Heart" moves with the slow sway of a boat rocking back and forth on the ocean, with what sounds like horns and electronics all gurgling out of the mist before everything achingly comes together in a glorious white haze before dropping off again.

"Requiem For A Fox" is much closer to the work on his earlier release, starting from the gates with a chugging, underwater beat that again has piles and piles of dense, warm sounds piled on top of it before some of that lovely slide guitar coils around acoustic guitars, filtered pings and subdued squalls of noise. The closing 3 minutes of the track crack off into an uplifting track that could easily be freestanding by itself, all uplifting guitar melodies and chugging rhythms. The track "Farewell" feels like more of an interlude than anything, bridging the latter track with what is easily the epic of the album.

Said epic is "Sky Histoire," and it mixes attacking strings, huge basslines, lap steel, washes of noise, percolating rhythms, and just about everything else bobbing and weaving together for a lovely 8 minutes before giving way to a downright celebratory latter section with chimes and bells before again swelling up into a thunderous wall of sound that somehow manages to remain pretty. With the inclusion of the closing self-titled track "Like Hearts Swelling" (a live track mixing accordion and electronics from Perri with looped violin from Gen of HangedUp), it sounds as if the release is still somewhat of a transition album. It looks back slightly at older ideas while moving in new ones altogether. Fortunately, despite a couple tracks that could have been made a bit shorter to keep things tighter, most of it works. It's a dense, sprawling release that feels a bit longer than its running length (in a good way), simply because it's so involving. If you enjoyed his last release, it may throw you for a slight loop, but give it a little time and it will wrap you up like a warm blanket.

rating: 810
Aaron Coleman 2003-09-25 00:00:00