Thursday, October 31, 2013
Pjaro "Goodnight Sweet Prince" on Not Laughing Records
I think the mention of Lungfish in the press release from Sheffield's Pjaro is what got me to hunt down the link for this single on their bandcamp page. A while back I caught a two hour set on KCRW with Henry Rollins and Ian Mackaye where they played seven inches and talked about the old days. Ian talked about how much he respected Lungfish through the years and what incredible pioneers they were and still are. Somehow I completely missed these guys first time around and since then picked up their back catalog from Dischord and am still trying to make up for lost time. Anyone that also appreciates those guys had to be worth a listen. I can hear the direct link from the Baltimore band to Pjaro and the calculating places these guys are taking those post hardcore roots.
A-Side's "I'm Always Getting Messy" has a precise electric jangle with a caught-in-a-fill jazz drum from this two piece that lists additional members on vocals, so I'm not sure if they're permanent fixtures or only sat in for these tracks but it's exactly the sort of thing I never get tired of. I pulled out a box of singles that had Ativin and Dianogah the other day which both work in the same spazzy jagged math. It gets even better when they drop down into dirge sounding sludge with a wail of vocal in their reverb cavern. Huge windmill strums from piercing glitchy distortion that ends every measure in shrieking feedback. Impossibly heavy doom drums but then they peel it back into a subtle jazz shuffle. It's the best contemporary math sound with the frantic punk of something like Cap'n Jazz. Pjaro's post sound stops at nothing to pound out a direct line to the feedback gods. Beating the hell out of the drums these guitar screeches twist the rest of the life out of anything close to pop, genius stuff. "No I Have No Parsley" has that high register smack of the snare or a tightly wound tom maybe and a Jesus Lizard low end gravely guitar that just as quickly switches to a warm electric. This has a heavier vocal, a distanced yelling way back in the mix becoming a layer of emotion. The throaty bellowing yell against this indie strum is a great deliberate device, unsettlingly shallow so they can dive deep into that undertow of distortion. The drums don't have a simple repetitive rhythm, it's constantly weaving the pats and whacks into a crazy morse code. Speed up Fat History Month into a hardcore version of Lync, add Shellac and it's the perfect new math, the kind they can't even teach. The textbook hasn't been written yet.
B-Side's "Quid Pro Quo" has a bit of a relaxed beat and even with this tom roll from the tight strung section, a repeating electric starts in hypnotising and complex. That completely unassuming guitar tone is DIY, it says 'we don't even need effects, dealing with those pesky pedals'. The vocals are frightening over top of this, completely up in your face and dealing heavy damage in spite of everything else going on here. Aggressive and now you're questioning if this crowd isn't going to start pummeling each other when all you just saw going in was equations in their eyes. Fantastic complex precision with an emotional vocal delivery that rips this out of the intellectual and into the hoarse voice crack of Tim Kinsella. Both of these guys rip sustained chords that squeal over the end of this barely together devolving in a carefully planned way.
Those overseas shipping prices can hurt but in this case it's entirely worth it. Goodnight Sweet Prince is out today on Not Laughing Records.