steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion


"Polk" CD


Genres: rock, indie rock, indie pop

PO Box 14414
Portland, OR
97293 USA

Feb 24 - Mar 2 2003

With beautiful cover artwork composed of photographs of a long, barren road, presumably somewhere in the American desert, Tracker's Polk makes the perfect car-trip album.  The songs sound as if they would go perfectly accompanying a car driving on a deserted road - Tracker's got the atmosphere right, the mood right, and even the melodies right.

Like a day on the road, Polk flows perfectly - it has it's up and downs, and constantly carries a subtle tone of impending doom (just like in real life!).  "The Swimmer," one of the finer moments on Polk, is infectious and moody, with a slight creepiness hidden behind the guitar twangs and the mysterious, dreamy cymbal crashes that bring about the end of the tune.  "Flint (Watch The Crafts!)," which follows, is in stark contrast - it's an honest, stripped-down track that poses Tracker mastermind John Askew's perfect (in a delightfully imperfect way) vocals against a simple acoustic guitar background.

Other excellent tracks include "Chemistry," a beautiful tune that recalls a less epic Mercury Rev, "Distance is the Sun," which boasts a bit of a Sparklehorse influence, and "Somber Reptiles," a moody instrumental that sounds something like a demented film noir soundtrack.  The closer, "French," takes things further with the discreet inclusion of an accordion and a style not far off from that of Sparklehorse's "It's a Wonderful Life".  With excellent songwriting, perfect execution, and just the right amount of twang in the guitars, each of Polk's twelve songs works perfectly, with no low points to be found.

To simplify, Tracker's Polk gets everything right in all the right places.  This is the type of album that stays in your car's CD player for months on end.


Fun Fact: Michael Schorr from Death Cab For Cutie contributes his drumming skills to many of Polk's twelve tracks.  Schorr and Askew have been friends for a long time, and they've also collaborated in the past for Tracker's debut album, Ames.

Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 12 songs, distributed by the label, released 2002]