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High Time

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Album Review

Pit Er Pat's sophisticated playing and little girl lost vocals have never lacked for strangeness, but even by their standards, High Time is pretty unusual. The band sounds muscular and exotic where they used to be fragile and ethereal, delivering hypnotic, sinuous epics with a newfound polish and assurance that may be due to the fact that Pit Er Pat recorded them in their own studio. "Anno IV: XX" pulls listeners into High Time like a spell with a snaking Eastern-inspired guitar melody, talking drums, and chanted vocals that morph into layer upon layer of distorted drums that recall Tussle's transcendent percussion jams. Dub's eeriness plays a large part on High Time, especially "Copper Pennies," which conjures ghostly island rhythms with rolling steel drums and submerged surf guitars; "Evacuation Days"' twittering percussion and massive bass bounce and echo like they're on the dark side of the moon. Tracks like this and "Good Morning Song," which closes High Time with chirping birds and rippling metallic percussion, stretch out beyond six minutes, showing that Pit Er Pat aren't afraid to take their songs to the point where they border on meandering — but they also show that the band knows when to rein it in. The pop elements the band developed on Pyramids are here as well, albeit channeled through High Time's expansive, experimental vibe. "The Cairo Shuffle," with its fuzz bass and lumbering electric piano, rocks out in its own lumbering way, and "Trod a Long"'s spacy nod to ska is as charming as it is quirky. The dark whimsy Pit Er Pat displayed on Shakey and Pyramids is downplayed, and missed a little on High Time, although the horror movie-ready interlude "My Darkers" and the fittingly ominous "Omen" — which features Fay Davis-Jeffers' voice at its eerily girlish finest — are as innocently, playfully spooky as anything in the band's songbook. Pit Er Pat moves in a very different direction here, but they pull it off well enough that it's easy to succumb to High Time's subtly energetic grooves.


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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High Time, Pit Er Pat
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