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Album Review

Pit Er Pat's second album, Pyramids, is the band's most self-assured sounding work to date, but that's a matter of degree. They still make incredibly delicate, vulnerable music, but this time around it feels a little more grounded than their aptly named debut album, Shakey, which had melodies so fragile they seemed in danger of blowing away. Pyramids is also Pit Er Pat's second time working with producer John McEntire (the first was the 3D Massage EP, which was released earlier in 2006), and with him at the helm, the jazzier, more sophisticated side of their sound is emphasized, particularly on "Solstice," which could pass for some obscure vocal jazz-pop from the late '60s or early '70s. The more refined sound of the playing and arrangements on Pyramids heightens the tension between the music and Fay Davis-Jeffers' small, almost childlike voice; the result is like a little girl singing about grim fairy tales over a broken jazz combo. There's a lot going on in Pit Er Pat's music, even on their seemingly simple songs: "Time Monster" is the closest Pyramids gets to pop, and even then the song's scuttling polyrhythms and musings on how time makes everyone insignificant keep it more aloof than catchy. "Baby's Fist" is another moody standout that recalls the brooding synth folk of the first few Mary Timony solo albums. Davis-Jeffers' lyrics are innocently dark here ("I like the dark because it's like I don't exist/I'm part of the air/Like snowfall") and playfully philosophical on "Skeletons" ("They have nothing you can steal/They have nothing they can lose"), but these feelings carry over to Pyramids' instrumental tracks as well. "Pyramids" itself is especially evocative, with its heavy fuzz bass and exotica leanings, suggesting desert heat or sinister rituals performed in the heart of the jungle. Pit Er Pat creates a dark, strange, and often insular world with their music, but with each release, it becomes a more compelling place to visit.


Formed: 2003 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Chicago post-rock trio Pit Er Pat comprised bassist Rob Doran (a founding member of Alkaline Trio), classically trained pianist Fay Davis-Jeffers, and drummer Butchy Fuego (a onetime contributor to Neutral Milk Hotel). Founded in 2003 as the Blackbirds, they formed to back a local singer/songwriter who abruptly left town for New York City, forcing the trio to compose a set of songs in order to make good on a previously booked live gig; the performance was so successful they opted to continue, soon...
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Pyramids, Pit Er Pat
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