(Artwork care of Karen Ramsay (www.karenramsay.com), profile photo care of brianlackeyphotography.com)

Monday, October 24, 2011

CD review - Pinkunoizu, Peep (2011)

More dreamlike than dreamy...how did I get here?

Pinkunoizu's EP, Peep, is not so much dreamy as dreamlike. The band manages to create and capture the sense of a free ranging subconsciousness throughout the course of the EP. Like any night's dreamscapes, Peep doesn't start out that strangely.

The fade-in intro of Time Is Like a Melody suggests a thousand other dreamy pop bands. The drifting vibe blends bubbling synths, washes, and a simple guitar strum. As the song finds its structure, this is where other dream pop bands would settle into the groove. But Pinkunoizu takes it further. Swirling around, they build a rich rhythmic complexity as the tune circles. Jarring shards of guitar are just as welcome as water drop kalimba tones.

These looping layers jumble together. When the song fades down into an a capella finish, the vocal stratas maintain the interwoven rhythms of the main song. A little outside the box for dream pop, Time Is a Melody serves as the first step down into dreamland.

The second track, Everything is Broken or Stolen, takes us further afield. It establishes a poly-rythmic groove as initial passing sounds give way to a meandering synth melody. There's a great moment where the trippy music drops out briefly to accent the beginning of the detached and disconnected vocal.

Soon, though, the song falls back into an instrumental exploration that starts collecting unrelated sounds over the main groove. After a number of twists, a new set of repetitive vocals comes in. It seems unclear how we've arrived here, but, as in a dream, we accept it. The theme mutates and is slowly overtaken by the earlier meandering keyboard line. Eventually, the track settles back into polyrythm before collapsing into a strange clockwork finish.

Now that we're deeply anchored in sleep, Pinkunoizu lays out the strangest track. Dairy Queen's ominous start -- a tone and a tolling beat -- sets up a feeling of powerlessness. Sounding like parts of The Wall, the song moves forward. But it opens up and shifts into a more reflective mood before dissolving into surrealism.

This is where Peep crosses into the seemingly random logic of dreamspace. Like the slow unwinding of the subconscious, the flow is not so clear. One moment slides into the next, but cause and effect seem suspended. This surrealistic meltdown proceeds until, out of the void, an element emerges.

The classic Irish folk song, Red is the Rose, provides a touchstone for this dream to latch onto like a lifeline. The melody becomes an organizing motif as the track becomes more song-like. As the psychedelic jam extends the theme, it's hard to remember just how we got here.

The end of the song is a confused awakening, The tatters of the last 22 and a half minutes slip through the fingers and any summary is elusive.

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