Review Summary: An album so pleasant it's almost...well...kind of cute.
Pattern Is Movement is a bit of an oddity, and I don't use that term lightly. Aside from their music, which can be best described as some sort of indie/jazz/pop fusion, their appearance alone is enough to leave a puzzled look on one's face. The last people on earth you would expect to make music like this would probably be two older, pear shaped gentleman with gloriously full beards, wearing plaid shirts and suspenders, but that is just what PIM consists of. Two rather portly, balding, gruff looking men playing music that could be described as dainty, airy, lighthearted, and whimsical. These two men are drummer, Chris Ward, and multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Andrew Thiboldeaux.
As simple and playful as the music itself comes off, there are a plethora of interesting things going on underneath the cloak of simplicity. Chris Ward's drumming would, at times, feel right at home on a math rock record, and Thiboldeaux's mastery of pretty much anything with keys is nothing to scoff at. The rhythmic qualities of the music are what really sets PIM apart from their peers. Quite a few of the drumbeats are polyrhythmic, and the overall beats of the songs themselves are often twisted around, creating quite a few complex and contorted rhythmic structures throughout the album, but never so complex that it makes the songs feel off kilter to the point of being overwhelming. Theoretical jargon aside, the album is just really a joy to listen to, as Thiboldeaux has a knack for picking instruments that fit the mood of a track in a nigh perfect manner. Pianos, keyboards, accordions, horn sections, violins, airy electronics, and a veritable smorgasbord of others make appearances all over the album, and each one just fits so perfectly with the settings and feelings presented in the tracks in which they preside. For example, accordions and string sections, which often employ very elongated notes and melodies, are used to accentuate Thiboldeaux's crooning of "I hope that she is proud of me"
in the song Right Away (which almost sounds like the theme song to The Office for the first few seconds if you aren't paying attention). Which brings me to another positive aspect of the album. Andrew Theiboldeaux's voice is quite possibly as soft and soothing as Downy fabric softener, and I'm not saying that to be funny; it really is the best way to describe it. For such a burly looking individual to produce such a gentle and crooning voice is really just plain odd, but, like everything else on the album, it works beautifully.
All Together is not only just a great album in general, but also a great example of how music can be both interesting and challenging, and still manage to be easily accessible. Call it indie, call it nu-jazz, call it avant-pop, really you can just call it whatever you want to, but this album will more than likely be appealing to you if you just give it a chance, and as charming as it is, why wouldn't you want to? If I had to sum this album up with one singular thought/idea this would be it...(for those of you who do not have/have never had a girlfriend/boyfriend, this might not make sense). You know that feeling, when you're just laying around with your significant other, and there's that brief little moment where you both lock eyes and smile, and he/she lets out a little cute sigh of content...yeah...this album is like that moment...(yeah it's overly sentimental but I don't care)