Review Summary: Kick back.
Ah, the simple pleasures in life. Mid-afternoon naps. Beer at the beach. The morning dump. Where would we be without them? That is a world that doesn’t even bear thinking about. Now, this is not to say that ‘Piglet’, a three piece instrumental math rock band from Chicago, are a simple pleasure. They are not a simple band. Quite the contrary, they are actually very technical, throwing intricate melodies and catchy-as-hell hooks into a melting pot of lush, diverse guitaring and masterfully intuitive drumming. But I’m sure you’ve heard that all before. What separates Piglet from the rest is their ability to remain weightless in a universe which is heavily bogged down by overly complicated song-writing. Despite the songs meandering this way and that in structure, technicality and style, the band manage to keep your attention without you feeling any sense of lethargy for having to keep up. It’s ridiculously enjoyable stuff, an aspect of math rock which is often oddly absent.
Technicality-wise, Piglet have got it down. The drumming on Lava Land really is top notch, skilful and imaginative, the drummer paying attention as much to the silence in between the notes as the notes themselves. The guitarists are also particularly impressive. Instead of relying on two handed tapping orgies to make themselves known, they instead focus on creating smooth, catchy, original riffs which can change direction as quickly as they started but not somehow not leaving the listener struggling to catch their breath. The interrelations between the instruments is also note-worthy. The band can be seen concentrating a great deal on the importance of intertwining melodies between different timbre for the enhancement and variety of harmony and song progression. Despite it’s easy-going and unburdened listen, there are a surprising amount of intricacies and technicalities within the EP, and this is the reason you’ll still be listening to it months down the line.
The best thing about each of these six tracks though is that they never so much demand your attention as sit down and have an enjoyable conversation with it. You’ll want to concentrate on the record because it is interesting and unique, and takes time to figure out, not be forced to just because you can’t keep up. As much as the genre of math rock is technically impressive, it, for me, is rarely truly enjoyable. Tap and snap all you want, shake the song up, flick the lid and watch it explode, that is not the equation for an automatically enjoyable listen. What Piglet have here is a magical, intelligent, chilled-out album that eases and relaxes the listener as much as it intrigues and shocks them, a less than common appearance in the genre. For me, Lava Land is the perfect higher pleasure accompaniment for the more simple pleasures in life. Some advice; crack open a beer, sit out in the sun, and play this record now.