Review Summary: By combining the shorter songs of their first record with the longer, more prog influenced songs of their second, Giraffes? Giraffes! have created a highly enjoyable piece of music.
Giraffes? Giraffes! aren't your typical math rock group. Though they combine technical instrumental work with upbeat melody and a penchant for unique song structures, they add a touch of jazz styling and psychedelic influence to forge their own unique sound. This lovely concoction first appeared on their debut album, Super Bass, but suffered from some overly repetitive moments and energy-draining slow songs. Their next album, More Skin With Milk-Mouth, corrected these mistakes but lacked some of the more exciting shorter songs of the first album and had a less approachable sound overall. Don't get me wrong, both albums were wonderful, but they weren't perfect and showed Giraffes? Giraffes! still had room to grow.
Enter Pink Magick: a perfect conglomerate of the first two albums plus a much stronger psychedelic and 70's prog influence. The album begins with “Es and Em and Em and Ems”, an epic sounding mish mash of guitars, drums, and organ that opens up to “Scorpion Bowls at the Hong Kong”, a song that harkens back to the first album with an up beat tempo and happy sounding melody. The main riff bounces around joyfully until settling into a drum roll build up that slowly raises the songs momentum into an interesting group chant and eventual return to the intial riff. The quieter build up of this song perfectly displays the albums wonderful production and mixing, with each layer of guitar harmonizing nicely and never overpowering the supporting bass and keys. The following song, “Totally Boneless”, also shares a more nostalgic sound, focusing around a low tapping riff interspersed with higher pitched reverb laden sections.
The following two part epic, “Werewolf Grandma with Knives”, is simply breathtaking (I never thought I'd use that adjective with math rock). Starting with disturbing ambient noise and the occasional creepy voice clip, the song sets quite the mood. A lone guitar soon comes in playing a dark melody on top of the noise, eventually leading into part two of the song. This second part reminds me of “ I Am Something Something...” from the second album, and builds wonderfully from the blast beats of the first moment until their climatic return at the end.
The next two songs, “Koscinski's Requiem for a Golden Chariot” and “Curse of the Tooth Nightmare” flow similarly to the 2nd and 3rd, a lovely combination of energetic guitar tapping and fast paced drums that constantly build until their dramatic final moments. “Transparent Man/Invisible Woman (80,000,000 Years Alone)” is a calm, low key rest from the constant thrill of the rest of the album, not so dissimilar from “The Ghost Of EPPEEPEE’s Ghost” of the previous album.
Ending on a high note, “DRGNFKR” is without a doubt the best Giraffes? Giraffes! song on this album and possibly their entire discography. Utilizing a more sullen sound than the mostly major key album, its both the saddest (Aside from “Werewolf Grandma With Knives”) and triumphant sounding song on the album. Starting off with a fast pull off/hammer on riff the song slows down into a Godspeed You! Black Emperor esque section and then ignites into a ripping guitar solo, gloriously ending the album in an awesome “*** Yeah!” fashion.
Overall, the album corrects the slight errs of their previous albums and explores new ground successfully. By focusing on what made their first album so exciting and their second so grand, Giraffes? Giraffes! have created a wonderful work of art that is sure to be a highlight of anyone's music collection.