Label: Warp Release date: 09/08/10 Link Official Site Buy: Amazon Normally when a band removes the vowels from their name I’m tempted to pay a little less attention. Maybe it’s because of how gimmicky it can seem to remove the integral part of a word and sddnly tlk lk ths tht gts nnyng. Pretty much unless it’s to mean remix, I’m not a fan of disemvoweling. But Australian former math rockers Pivot (now PVT) seem determined to make sure that hostility turns around. Newly minted as an electronic/rock hybrid and emboldened by stupid legal fiascos that led to the name change, their latest LP (Church With No Magic) evokes the right feelings at the right time and explores the skills of a band experimenting with something unique. Calling cards of their mathy past still exist (check out the hurky-jerk rhythm changes of ‘Light Up Bright Fires’), but for the most part have been muted in favour of heavy electronic manipulation and experimentation. Lead single ‘Window’ relies on a vaguely Reich vocal loop, driving bass synth, and dramatic breaks to make each key change that much more massive. It’s a post-rock move in the setting of a gothic LCD Soundsystem song, and something stirring after the apocalyptic brooding (and subsequent pretty/sad outro) of ‘Crimson Swan’ that lends the middle of the album a nice amount of dense claustrophobia that makes up for the title song’s shit Bowie lite yelps that actually detracted from the killer bass and pretty well executed percussion. Overall Church With No Magic really succeeds when it goes full electro rock and banishes the post aspects, instead focusing on the excellent compositions created with a slew of synthesizers in a rhythmic setting. ‘Waves & Radiation’ goes on for at least a minute too long before dropping into what should have been the cathartic ‘Circle Of Friends.’ The love child of Grizzly Bear and Björk (circa Medúlla), ‘Circle Of Friends’ manages to find the band in a comfortably downtrodden place full of reverb, guitar, arpeggiated synthesizers, and massive live drums that really do envelop and slowly drown the listener in their massiveness. It’s pleasant to see the entire album fiddle with different styles of melancholy and happiness, as the closer ‘Only The Wind Can Hear You’ shows. Yearning vocals belie the backing, pleading in a Droste manner while the instruments seem to tread the line between paranoid and content. All in all, by the end of this disc PVT have really carved out a sound. It’s mostly dark, really reliant on thick bass and a fuckton of synths to gently wobble out chords (all to the tune of HUGE DRUMS). Really where the band used to just integrate samples and electronics into guitar/bass/drums music has been abolished in favour of a sound that took thought and time to craft. And it was a successful move, as this album shows (hell, you can hear them trying out new sounds in each song). Stellar job, albeit with a few moments of less than stellar song-writing, but high marks for an effort well put and a job well done. Photobucket