[sic] Magazine

Pianos Become The Teeth – Drift

Pianos Become The Teeth – Drift

Review by Brett Spaceman.

Drift is the fifth album from Baltimore band, Pianos Become The Teeth. I discovered PBTT circa 3rd album, Keep You after they had made their name as part of the post hardcore/screamo scene. The group had left screamed vocals behind by the time I encountered them and have been modifying their style ever since. Such shifts can be risky though. For every new fan won, the bands hardcore (pun intended) fanbase suffers some attrition. Nevertheless these changes are artistic rather than commercial choices. PBTT are ‘for real’ when it comes to their music.

It comes as no surprise then to say that the new LP is very different to its predecessor, Wait For Love. Drift is a drowsy, unfocused affair. I held sway as the album initially garnered mixed reviews. Something told me this was a grower which turned out to be precisely the case. Where one or two outlets went a bit overboard with their praise, others derided the new collection as coming from a band who no longer wished to make music. Of course the truth is somewhere between. The album isn’t called Drift for nothing. Its languidness is intentional as it seeks to explore those sensations between waking and sleeping. Drift is therefore a restless, fever dream of a record with singer Kyle Durfey reduced to almost somnambulistic murmurings.

The new release has a somewhat stumbling start. Opening track ‘Out Of Sight’, does little more than rub the sleep out of its eyes, its ‘looped tape’ experimentation failing to gel. Promotional single ‘Genevieve’ is a bit more urgent and focused but still not the bands best work. The more interesting pieces come after. In fact we enter into a sequence of meandering deeper cuts such as the loose, sexy ‘Easy’ which is reminiscent of Radiohead In Rainbows. ‘Mouth’ is a similarly chilled groove, which recalls Keep You outtake, ‘Arizona’. Then my personal favourite, ‘Skiv’ really shows the band going to another level in both their writing and arrangements. The opaque mood continues throughout, punctuated only by the explosive burst of Pixies-esque, ‘Hate Chase’. ‘Buckley’ mines gold, albeit briefly as it segues through its progressive phases. Just when I’m thinking they’ve cracked it, ‘Pair’ brings proceedings to an abrupt end.

In Kyle Durfey, PBTT have a charismatic lyricist who is fast learning the power of restraint. Some fans have likened his singing here to Morrissey, prompting the open goal jibe, Pianos Became The Smiths. This misses the point somewhat. Drift may have left many scratching their heads but personally I like this new side to PBTT. They have become the dictionary definition of enigmatic and that’s precisely what attracts me to them. Few bands have altered their sound quite so dramatically with each major release. I have the impression there’s something truly seismic within PBTT capabilities. Whilst momentarily breathtaking, Drift remains a sleep twitch of an album which carries that sense of a half-forgotten dream, fading beyond our grasp.

Classic Album Feature – Keep You

Wait For Love