September 22, 2020

Pianos Become the Teeth – Wait for Love – Epitaph

By Kristi Kates | March 31, 2018


Full of all the profundity and emotion that fans regularly anticipate from PBTT, this latest album continues along the same conduit the band has been following for a while — that of refining its sound. On this set, the move is best expressed through audio choices on the various songs, from the surprisingly delicate instrumentation on the thoughtful tune “Blue” to the melodically challenging “Fake Lighting.” There are still some emo/scream-o components in place, but they’re being shifted out of the predictable as the band matures. ** ½

The Oh Hellos – Eurus – TOH Music
The second of a short series of albums (ostensibly set to be four) that The Oh Hellos is releasing about Greek gods (the first being Notos) pushes the focus onto strings and banjo, the latter of which might seem like a strange choice. But it’s actually not that unusual, as the overall feel of the album is that of a fall harvest festival, an alternating playlist of energetic, celebratory stompers and pretty audio intermissions (“Dry Branches”). Siblings Maggie and Tyler Heath alternate vocals throughout to great effect. *** 

David Byrne – American Utopia – Nonesuch
Taking plenty of risks on his latest solo effort is just another walk in the park for Byrne, who’s known for pushing the musical and artistic envelope on a regular basis. The experience he’s collected smoothly ushers this album into Byrne’s next step as a musician: infusing components of today’s EDM into his ’80s-rooted art-rock extravaganzas. Highlights of that blend include the android-ish flair of “I Dance Like This” and the club-kid horns, big beats, and sarcasm of “Everybody’s Coming to My House.” *** ½

Darlingside – Extra Life – MD Records
With those rumbling, perfectly spaced vocal harmonies and warm, folky guitars, Darlingside at first recollect bands like The Lumineers or Strumbrellas. Yet with added little touches like eight-bit samples or Phil Spector-worthy washes of thick sound, the band sets itself apart. “Indian Orchard Road” is perhaps the most neo-Americana track of the bunch; elsewhere, the ’60s-inflected “Old Friend” and the electronica-sprinkled “Eschaton” are must-listens, albeit for completely opposite reasons. *** ½



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