Pit er Pat – The Flexible Entertainer

January 01, 1970

(Thrill
Jockey)

 

www.thrilljockey.com

 

Stripping
down a song to bare essentials can either put more focus on the emotion at its
core or it can undercut the mood. For example, Beat Happening always sounded
fine without a bass guitar, while, to these ears, Prince made a crucial mistake
and sucked a lot of the sensuality out of “When Doves Cry” when he eliminated
that song’s bass track. These are two divergent examples of minimalism but both
come to mind while spinning Pit er Pat’s latest release, The Flexible Entertainer. With the departure of bassist Rob Doran, remaining
members Butchy Fuego and Fay Davis-Jeffers handle everything themselves,
incorporating real and electronic drums, some guitar, keyboards and more
percussion into their sound. Davis-Jeffers adds some icy vocals to most of the
eight tracks.

 

What
feels so perplexing about The Flexible
Entertainer
is how the duo changes from hot to cold so easily. One minute
they’re playing dub grooves with the warped artiness of the Raincoats, the next
they’re using the same single-note guitar lick with an ordinary drumbeat and no
low end, the results just getting under your skin. Sometimes the clattering
sound of the percussion makes up for the simplicity of other parts, while other
tracks noodle on too long and one skips vocals in favor of the annoying sound
of a cuica (the percussion instrument that sounds like an asthmatic
bloodhound).  “Specimen” also skips the
vocals but makes up for it in a few different ways.  A lonely melodica takes the place of
Davis-Jeffers’ pipes and the rhythm section sounds slightly out of sync with
itself, which seems intentional. They want to make sure we’re listening and
know what they’re capable of producing when the synapses all fire at once.

 

Standout Tracks:
“Nightroom,” “Summer Rose.” MIKE SHANLEY

 

 

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