Pick a Piper - Pick a Piper
Pick a Piper embody uncertainty. They are themselves in the uncertain position of releasing a debut LP as a collective of musicians from other bands (including Caribou drummer Brad Weber) which creates a certain tension in itself. Their nomadic sensibilities transfer into the music which is self-defined as "poised between the organic and the synthetic." They've expressed the desire to create 'danceable' rhythms from a selection of tribal samples infused with pop resonances that adds a further blurring of clarity.
The sound represents a hybrid, congealing creations from pop, tribal, indie and electronica with the defining focus on percussion. At the centre of PAP's sound is the clash between abrasive and fluid counterpoints. 'All Her Colours' exemplifies a delicate falsetto against growling undertones, whilst the opening track's title echoes the theme of juxtaposition with lucid/fjords. While they present often conflicting properties, what truly interests the band is the obscure indefinability of the reaction between such aspects.
They offer comparisons in sound and concept marrying minimalist and frenetic passages that offer the idea of change and movement, or transformation. 'Cinders and Dust' represents the irreversibility of change, but also the outcome. PAP deliver an image of what is left, likewise with 'Once Were Leaves' where the image pervades through an aura which is constantly shifting. We get the impression that their attraction to tribal, and consequently, ritualistic forms of repetition and circularity, intend to reflect the incessant nature of evolution.
Much like 'Zenaida', that suggests dove-like imagery, we have the notion of peace, migration and reincarnation. Like the phoenix rising, the record is a journey which intends to transport and transform. From earlier allusions to pop and electro we disperse into wilder forms of african and jazz aesthetics. This familiar sense of the earlier tracks dissipates, as does the perceived structural rigidity which moves from sense into chaos. It's as if PAP find freedom the more they move away from the human burden of imposed expectation, instead escaping into an ethereal existence.
From the 'things', prevalent nouns in the song titles (Fjords, Cinders, Dust Leaves, Hour Hands, Dinghy, Cove) PAP present something much less concrete. The allusion of 'Hour Hands' is again referencing the uncertainty, change and relentless motion of time. Yet it seems that this serves as a parody which takes arguably one of the most definable characteristics of life and reapplies and interprets it as a vast sonic space. Asking, subsequently, whether we limit life through attaching these prominent labels.
Pick A Piper's debut LP is a vast statement that takes the opposite movement which punk and post-punk adopted. Where they searched for simplification in vitriolic brevity, PAP strike for complexity, widening our perspective of what we experience. Pick A Piper offer a rich tapestry of concepts that serves as an embrace to that which we can't comprehend. Logic isn't welcome and in fact passionately disregarded. Where others try and find sense in reductive statement PAP embrace chaos and remind us that the sensory experience is one which vastly dwarfs the intellectual.