Pyramids - Self Titled
Pyramids' self titled release is music, technically.
Whether you can classify it as the type of music that one would actually listen to is another thing altogether. While I always have loads of respect for the bands that push the limits of music and strive for the abstract, I’m always left with roughly the same sentiment: that’s great but I’ll never listen to it again.
The same can be said for past conceptual works, such as Mike Patton’s Adult Themes for Voice or Negativeland’s Fair Use.. These are bold explorations of musicianship and, to some degree, have a place within the spectrum, if only to serve as the far left boundary of musical composition. What’s great about these types of projects is that they force you to digest them differently than you would a typical new release from a band with a usual format. You can’t judge them based on whether or not you enjoy what you’re hearing. You have to find something else about the offering that appeals to you.
For example, Pyramids' debut is great by its own merits. It takes real creativity and the capability to project such a vision in order to produce the ten tracks they have released. It’s psychedelic in a fashion that is more Radiohead-in-a-panic than earlier models of the term but there is also a quality about the album that is usually reserved for darker bands of very different genres (namely Metal). The album is haunting and the atypical manner in which Pyramids portrays this mood is uniquely unnerving. The band has done a fine job of executing their vision and I can see fully why Hydra Head Records includes them on their distinguished roster.
But that vision is SO overtly obtuse that their finished piece is nearly unlistenable. Even as ambient “work music”, the album fails because you’re constantly trying to catch your bearings. Much of the time the songs sound like two that were, in someway, recorded on the same track, having nothing in common with the other song that somehow shares the same space. You’d chalk the whole damn project up as the recordings of an autistic caveman if you didn’t already know that cavemen sold insurance. The combined work is chaotic to a degree I’ve never experienced before, which makes the album both exhilarating and the musical equivalent of a roller coaster that you’re happy you rode but never will again.
Unless, of course, I’m trying to turn my brain inside out. Then I’d crank this album up as loud as possible and count backwards from the number R.
Even with all of this said, the candid testimony of a reviewer truly lost within an album, I can’t help but give Pyramids' debut release high marks. It’s unique, talented in ways I’m sure I can’t comprehend, and horrifically unlistenable. The album is an amalgam of elements that can only blend into brilliance.
I’m sure one day I’ll understand it.
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