PVT: Church With No Magic (Warp Records)


Posted on Aug 20th 2010 01:13 am

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PVT: Church With No Magic

Church With No Magic
Warp Records 2010
10 Tracks. 37mins58secs

Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD US: CD | LP | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP | DLD iTunes: DLD

A word of warning: Pivot (or PVT as they now call themselves) have gone a bit Animal Collective on us. Well, not quite, but the Australian threesome have made a leap from the textured sound of their previous output, the rather enchanting O Soundtrack My Heart, released over two years ago on Warp to something which may still bear occasional tints of the old, but has become an essentially much more song-based form, with multi-instrumentist Richard Pike assuming a new full time role as singer within the band. The sound has also evolved into a more electronically-fuelled affair, quite a radical departure, this despite often heavy live drums and occasional outburst of guitars spotted throughout. This is made very clear right from the short opener, Community, with its ethereal choral chords drowned in electronic arpeggios which could have been stolen from a sixties sci-fi soundtrack experiment.

From then on, Church With No Magic descends into a series of harsh and angular songs, drenched to the bone with fat electronic sounds and propped up by Laurence Pike’s drums, which sees the trio cut their way through the hypnotic and heavy footed Light Up Bright Fires and the much more basic title track all the way down to the surprisingly dreamy Waves & Radiation, the only fully instrumental track here, and the sumptuous closing Only The Wind Can Hear You.

The analogy with Animal Collective made earlier is never truer than on the incantatory Light Up Bright Fires, Crimson Swan, Window or Circle Of Friends, where Richard Pike’s voice is more than a little reminiscent of Panda Bear. This is accentuated by the apparent lack of clear lyrics, at least on some of these, and the heavily processed vocals which characterise Light Up Bright Fires or the latter part of Crimson Swan especially. Elsewhere though, this is far less relevant. On the title track for instance, Pike sounds like the bastard child of Elvis and Billy Idol, yet it somehow works in his favour, giving an already strong song a totally unlikely edge, while he appears much more stripped down and vulnerable on Timeless. There are times here when PVT seem to lose focus slightly, especially on the somewhat dated The Quick Mile, but these are only blips in an overall rather convincing collection.

Some may regret the lack of subtlety of this vowel-less PVT, yet the trio appear to operate on a new lease of confidence here. Their sound, much bulkier and grittier, has gained much in the process. The name change may have been the result of a legal challenge, but it also signalled a somewhat radical review of the band’s overall approach, and all for the better.


PVT | PVT (MySpace) | Warp Records
Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD US: CD | LP | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP | DLD iTunes: DLD

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