Pit Er Pat, “Pyramids”

Pyramids, the third release from Chicago’s Pit Er Pat, is anything but a smooth, simple ride. A Midwestern middle ground between Denali and later Blonde Redhead, the trio’s post-rock sound is moody and highly textured. Singer Fay Davis-Jeffers unravels her childishly simple lyrics with a likewise juvenile delivery — somewhere between Bjork and Joanna Newsom. Fat bass lines from Rob Doran provides setting for melodic plinks and pulses charging from Davis-Jeffers’ electric piano. Butchy Fuego’s sniper precise drumming is most impressive, ready to keep his bandmates in line through elastic time signatures and further complicate songs with mildly showy fills.

Combined, Pit Er Pat crafted 11 songs brimming with anxiety, apprehension and eerie cheerfulness. The album opens with shimmering “Brain Monster,” a rattling sample of the sounds to come. “Seasick (Hang Ten),” a starkly beautiful sea shanty mostly sung by the pleasantly nasal Doran, then seamlessly fades from its predecessor. As the album unfolds, the trio accessorize tracks with bits and pieces of tweaked out computer noise (“Pyramids”), thrumming guitar feedback (“Rain Clouds”) and other unidentifiable gobbledygook (the latter half of “Time Monster”).

Pit Er Pat shines brightest during its instrumental portions, especially when letting loose; the singeing and fuzzy basswork on “Swamp” alone is enough to melt listeners’ earwax. On the other hand, it’s Davis-Jeffers’ uneven vocals and odd phrasings tainting the trio’s otherwise excellent compositions. Coupled with lyrics cribbed from the nearest day care center (“I like the dark / ‘cuz I’m in disguise / lurking in the shadows you can’t see my eyes / I’m just a dark shape” from “Baby’s Fist”), her performance can be more annoying than charming. Still, Pyramids is a superb effort from a promising and still mutating band – one with plenty of time to find a balance between quirk and quality.

Audio: Pit Er Pat, “Solstice”

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