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Pianos Become The Teeth – Wait For Love

Expectations were high for this latest installment by Baltimore’s Pianos Become The Teeth. On Keep You, the former post-hardcore/screamo act wrong-footed everyone, fans included, with a collection of mature, considered alt-rock. The band eased up on their trademark ‘distorted intensity’, supplementing post-rock dynamics and, most surprisingly of all, screamed vocals were jettisoned in favour of rather beautifully sung vocals. Some loyal followers felt alienated by this move but there is no disputing its success. Heartfelt, emotional material remained central to the band’s music. However it was presented within a far more inclusive platform.

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On Wait For Love, Pianos Become The Teeth seem to have forgotten the ‘less is more’ rule that helped Keep You find such critical acclaim. That last album was ‘lightning in a bottle’. The new one begins with ‘Fake Lightning’ and it isn’t the only ominous sign around. The band had already released teaser singles ‘Charisma’ and ‘Bitter Red’ in the lead up to release. Unfortunately neither show the Maryland act at their best. ‘Charisma’ in particular is a tiring listen with Kyle Durfey repeating “And what a way” over and over to ever-diminishing returns.

The man who famously gave up screaming has seemingly adopted the rant.

‘Bitter Red’ is less disappointing and probably an attempt at some kind of ‘arena grandeur’. Neither would be a particular problem if the album had been a bit more nuanced. It’s almost as though whoever mixed the album couldn’t decide what should be prominent and instead just slid all the bars up to eleven. The result is a Mad Max, Fury Road of an album. Some will love it, but for me, Wait For Love is too linear, too relentlessly high octane and ‘one-geared’ to be really interesting.

‘Bay Of Dreams’ eventually takes things down to a funereal pace, but just doesn’t do a great deal while it’s there. ‘Atmosphere’, this is not. However I am rather partial to the next track, ‘Forever Sound’ which almost redeems the album singlehandedly. From this point, Wait For Love remains patchy. Closing track ‘Blue’ is undoubtedly the album’s crowning glory and worth the admission price alone. Signature Durfey, ‘Blue’ is about missing your own father while becoming one.

“In a certain light
We all agree he’s got your eyes
And I could die
To see him sitting by your side”

There isn’t a dry eye left in the house. Yet I can’t shake the feeling that the whole album should’ve been of ‘Blue’s quality. Considering the band’s trajectory, the assured majesty of Keep You plus satellite tracks such as ‘895’, Wait For Love should have been another masterpiece. Instead it has failed by some distance.

There’s just too much grandstanding on this album.

Pianos Become The Teeth "Wait For Love" Trilogy | Dir: Michael Parks Randa from Michael Parks Randa on Vimeo.

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