Pianos Become The Teeth

Keep You

Written by: PP on 22/12/2014 00:11:40

Speaking of bands undergoing radical change, it has certainly not been easy being a fan of Pianos Become The Teeth. On debut album "Old Pride" the band were heavily involved in the 'wave' style post-hardcore scene, with vocalist Kyle Durfey screaming his throat out in a chaotic soundscape that was comparable to the powerviolence of United Nations. But already here the band displayed elements of complexion given the hints of post-rock style guitars providing additional context and lush soundscapes to contrast the volatile screamo passages. For sophomore album "The Lack Long After" three years ago, the band re-arranged their expression entirely and added a layer of depth, ambiance, and a level of atmosphere that simply wasn't present on the debut album. Screaming was toned down somewhat, but it was still a dominant factor throughout, with songs like "I'll Get By" building up to hair-raising finales of hauntingly beautiful screamed melodies in the midst of vivid post-rock instrumental landscapes. Here, the songwriting talent hinted at on "Old Pride" blossomed into its full capacity, suggesting Pianos Become The Teeth are one of the most important bands in that scene for the time being. Little did we know the band were secretly planning for a full-blown revolution in their sound for their next opus, "Keep You".

Essentially, you might as well forget everything you know about Pianos Become The Teeth before listening to "Keep You" in the first place. Vocalist Kyle Durfey doesn't raise his voice into a single scream throughout the album, even though he comes millimeters from it at times, such as on the climaxing moment of "Old Jaw". For the most part, the songs are somber, beautiful and tranquil in their nature, utilizing piano melodies, carefully strummed guitars that draw their delicacy from the post-rock scene though nowhere near as vivid and likely to crescendo as in that scene. The singing is calm and calculated, almost fragile in its nature, which only adds to the omnipresent feeling of tension that dominates the album's mood and atmosphere throughout. It's a forty-three minute journey of waiting for the band to burst into their signature controlled chaos supplemented by beauty that always feels like it's just around the corner, but ends up never arriving over the course of the album. It's a sense of anticipation that ensures "Keep You" is drenched in immense depth and grower potential. That is, if you let it. It's easy to dismiss the album for being different on first listen, or if this is your introduction to the band, for lacking in power and emotion, because it's such a difficult and challenging listen. The detail and texture isn't inherently obvious and requires familiarizing yourself with the melodies and the dynamic between them and the singing, before the album will start opening up to you.

But when it does, oh boy, are you in for a ride. "Keep You" might just contain some of the most objectively beautiful music we've ever heard in this genre. "Repine", in particular, is as back-chilling as music gets, much like the soothing "April" which has one of the best executed build ups in recent memory. But this is true for the rest of the songs as well. They keep building up against an invisible ceiling of a moment where the screams should arrive, yet they never do, and contrary to what you might believe it results into even more tension and emotional intensity than if they did. It is that realization that has made "Keep You" possible and why it is one of the most complete and uniform albums from 2014. Prepare for weeks of listening before this one opens up - and then you have the incredible lyrical depth of the songs awaiting for you to explore. If The National wrote post-rock that sources its emotional landscape from the screamo scene, "Keep You" is probably what would come out of it.


Download: Old Jaw, Repine, Ripple Water Shine, April
For the fans of: The National, Placebo
Listen: Facebook

Release date 27.10.2014

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