[sic] Magazine

Pfarmers – Gunnera

So we’ve had Chvrches, Flyying Colours & Alvvays. In the hunt for new & exciting website domains (or just ones which are available!), and – more importantly – the ability to locate band information in search engine listings, bands therefore have to be increasingly inventive with their names. Enter Pfarmers. Admittedly, nobody’s going to find them in our friendly search engine if they’d simply decided to call themselves Farmers. Go ask Fields, NO or The Church. Think about it – Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark might have set up their shop in the late 70s, but even at that point in time they had the right idea – they weren’t just forward-thinking electronic pioneers! And anyway, the reason why Coldplay apparently called their fifth album ‘Mylo Xyloto’ was not because it was named after some Japanese demi-god, but because it was a totally made up name – it seemingly allowed the band to chart how far & wide news about the album was spreading across the internet – from an initial ‘Your search did not match any documents’ response to nearly 500,000 results today. That’s really quite clever.

Pfarmers is actually a kind of indie supergroup. It comprises of Bryan Devendorf (The National), Danny Seim (Menomena, Lackthereof), and Dave Nelson (David Byrne & St. Vincent, Sufjan Stevens) and their debut album, Gunnera is released on May 12.

Gunnera kicks off with possibly the weirdest opening track I’ve come across on an album. It’s the sound of waking up outside after the sun’s been beating down on your face for hours as you slip in and out of a drug-fuelled haze. It’s probably how Leonardo di Caprio felt in The Beach. It also kind of sums up the cover art pretty well.

‘You Shall Know The Spirit’ is the kind of understated music which The National likes to make. I like it. It’s tunes such as this which lift the spirit (no pun intended). There are some nice chord changes three minutes into the track which work really well. Trumpets too – always good.

Closer ‘Promised Land’ is nearly nine minutes of pure aural pleasure. It’s also one of the strongest tracks on the album.

There’s actually a fusion of many different sounds at work across the album, though it’s more groove-based than traditional song structures, which makes for a laid-back feel. The music’s also more experimental than its contributors normally make, suggesting that they wanted a portal for this artier side of their work. It works well and makes for an interesting listen.

A final note for collectors – Gunnera will be available on a variety of formats including CD, Cassette (limited to 100), Black 12″ Vinyl, Green/Blue Color-in-Color 12″ Vinyl (limited to 200), Digital, and an Ultra Limited Collector’s Edition (limited to 50) which includes a handmade Pfarmers-themed seed bomb sculpture by Chicago artist Edward Cabral.