[sic] Magazine

The Pattern Theory – The Pattern Theory

Instrumental guitar music rarely piques my interest, but it’s more likely to lure me in if there are ‘jazzy’ elements. You know the stuff: lithe, woody drums; vibraphones set to shimmer; clean, flowing guitar lines; playing that’s hopefully confident without being smug. On this basis alone, The Pattern Theory’s debut album is a pretty good listen as far as I’m concerned.

The three guys in the band relocated from Yorkshire to Berlin and recorded this album at night. Not that you can tell – it’s mostly bright, buoyant and sun-dappled. Opener ‘Pyramid Schemes’ pretty much blew me away on first listen, simply because the polyrhythmic interplay melted my brain. I’m no musical genius, but it’s rare I hear music where I can’t understand what’s going on; here the time signatures are so complex and tightly interwoven that I jibber every time I hear it. Just when you think they can’t add another layer of instruments in a different time signature, they do. Dizzying – and demonstrates where these fellas got their band name from.

This kind of skilled compositional nous crops up throughout the album to distinguish it from others of its ilk. While few tracks stand out as particularly striking pieces in themselves, there are plenty of passages throughout the album that stick in your brain, creating an itch that prompts you to return to this music to explore anew. However, if I had to pick a fave it would probably be the languid ‘Framed Fields’, where some of the drum parts are worthy of Tortoise’s John McEntire . High praise indeed.

Essentially, what we have here is a rather fine instrumental guitar album with melody to spare and some quite beautiful playing. It’s not going to set the world alight, but it’s a lovely way to pass the time if you’re in the mood for this kind of thing.