Review: Koniec Pola – trop (Devoted Art Propaganda, Apr 27)

If, like me, you randomly stumbled across trop on Bandcamp, you would probably (again, like me) assume it sounds quite different from how it actually does. Subversive style tags like “electroacoustic,” “field recording,” “performance,” and “poetry” occupy the bottom of the page, and Polish quintet Koniec Pola’s bio simply states “Explore the sounds from the field.” One wouldn’t be misguided in hypothesizing that the material on this album barely resembles conventional music, but the truth is that Koniec Pola merely finds inspiration in abstract approaches, the many experimental elements that either manifest within or simply influence their music providing foundations for their powerful, unruly avant-rock compositions. Yes, trop is for the most part a rock album, complete with a full drum set, vocals, and some very creative guitar work, each track uniquely evolving from formless atmospherics to noisy, muscular climaxes (with the exception of “Czwarty,” which pretty much serves as an interlude despite being a great track in its own right). These are easily the mini-LP’s best moments, when all five band members emerge from the shadows to rouse a unified racket that owes as much to theatrical European neo- and dark folk as it does to art-damaged rock bands like Faust or Oxbow. The finest example of this can be found on lengthy closer “Szósty,” on which scratchy violin stutters over a loose, lumbering bass/drum groove until all hell breaks loose.

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