Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Young and the Barnstorming

Pylon's Gyrate Plus


Pylon, Gyrate Plus (DFA)

"Cool" begins with a march, which Pylon's guitar propeller finely chops, letting the chips fly and fall where they may. No hurry. But nothing too laid-back, either—not in a small Southern town, where everybody who isn't dead is aware that too-easy fuh-un is as boring as everything else. So, despite not being as biz-adaptable as Athens GA neighbors and admirers like the B-52s and R.E.M., Pylon were and are practical, in their own way. Their lyrics have been called surreal, but it's all part of the protocol, as vocalist (and registered nurse) Vanessa Briscoe often murmurs her way into a surgical strike, around which Michael Lanchowski's bass, Curtis Crowe's drums, and Randy Bewley's guitar channel a sinuous, sensuous, yet non-anesthetic groove, on Gyrate Plus: Pylon's 1980 debut album plus bonus tracks, including earlier singles ("Cool" and the equally voracious "Dub"), now opening Gyrate's first appearance on CD. They both sneak up on "Danger," which has often infiltrated DFA/LCD Soundsystem co-founder James Murphy's DJ sets. A few tracks here are too arty-mundane, which can happen when you're flying DIY through another date with "Gravity," like this brainy slam band did around the dawn of the big '80s, briefly in the '90s, and several times since '04. But, as Vanessa growls on the previously unreleased "Functionality": "There's something to be written on the air," always, and never much room for typos.
(update: Briscoe later told an interviewer that her combo's name came from the stripey road cone, not Faulkner's novel, Still, the way that his stunt-flying crew's inner tumult added to the momentum of their unified front always has appealed as a rockband description too.)


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