Pyramids (Emo)
Following the Tracks, Forcing Motion Thr


3.5
great

Review

by Nick Greer EMERITUS
June 10th, 2006 | 16 replies


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist


Pyramids - Following the Tracks, Forcing Motion Through Phases

Ever since (early) 2004's As the Roots Undo by Circle Takes the Square, I and I'm sure other who frequent the forums have been underwhelmed by other releases in the emo genre, partially because many huge bands have been biding their time or releasing EPs (e.g. Hot Cross), but mostly because that album raised the bar in all departments, but especially in terms of its grandness. I don't think any album in the last two years other than The Mars Volta's Frances the Mute comes close to touching the epic scope of As the Roots Undo. This precedent though, does not mean that bands have not tried to put out huge albums, it's just that they seem continuously eclipse by As the Roots Undo's exquisiteness. Bands like Envy and Funeral Diner are making some awesome records that I will refer to as being of a type of "colossal emo" (as a play on the Baroque genre [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colossal_Baroque]Colossal baroque[/url], which was known for being very over the top in composition and instrumentation, often requiring over thirty unique instrumentalists at a time), but for some reason, they're not quite there.

Enter Pyramids' Following the Tracks, Forcing Motion Through Phases. It has that colossal sound. There's abstruse lyrics, spoken word vocals, weird sampled audio, echoey and reverb-laden clean tone guitar, gravely distorted bass, booming drums, and harrowing screamed vocals. To go on and on about the instrumentals and how they're hella screamotional would be a waste of time. In short, the traits of this album point to it being pretty generic colossal emo. However, Pyramids are intelligent enough to ensure that the album is greater than the sum of its parts. Somehow, though this should be another attempt at surmounting the lofty As the Roots Undo, it actually attempts to diverge from that hugeness of sound and move into moments that are rather midtempo and lovely in their demure, withdrawn demeanor. Pyramids achieves this with their unusual pacing. With most other colossal emo bands, there will be slow, instrumental section to build up to heavy, dense crescendos, and interspersed among this post-rock song structure are songs that are specifically more chaotic and shorter to vary the pacing of the album and also the individual flavor of each song. One of the reasons I think that Circle Takes the Square is such an amazing band is that their chaotic section sound just as epic and even more memorable than the rest of the more brooding material, and I feel like a lot of bands try to play off of that such as Envy having punk beats in their faster sections as opposed to the grind feel of CTTS. Pyramids engages in such a varying of their sound, but their deployment of these moments is much more subdued and calm. They only have one truly giant song ("Sleep Spindles & K-Complexes"), and all of the others fit into this odd sort of middle ground between being expansive like a 6+ long colossal emo song, and being a short and snippy midtempo tune a la The Walls You've Built or Belle Epoque. The result is a very smooth flow between songs and some very unexpected movement within the songs. For example the first track, "Stations," starts off with a JR Ewing-esque distorted bass that is very muddy. Then they break into a midtempo section and build the energy of that using a sweet guitar progression that fuels the rest of the song. Instead of starting off slowly and building up or being spazzy and chaotic throughout, they plod along, grafting other genres and flavors into their hodgepodge jog through the emo soundscape. It's a unique feel to have grand music be a little more withdrawn and refined, and the result is really fun to groove along with.

However, this midtempo has a drawback. It disallows Pyramids from reaching any of the truly amazing emotional peaks that essentially makes colossal emo. The whole point of the song with the 10 minute build up is the emotional huge pay off one gets from putting in the time. Here, the songs will be pretty good throughout, which doesn't leave the listener with that huge swell that one typically gets from listening to such music. Still though, they find wonderful snippets of beauty in their music as they can't just rely on brutal crescendos. Instead they produce moments that are harmonically or melodically very pretty amongst the typically chaotic or dissonant emo sound they're cultivating. I recommend this reservedly. It's certainly good music, though it's not particularly fresh or new. They just know how to pace their album uniquely. I'd like to see a little more variety in the pacing without loosing their crucially unique feel. Maybe if the instrumentation wasn't so run of the mill that'd open up the band to try other songwriting techniques. I feel that this album isn't as successful as it could be, but it's definitely a great start (first LP for Pyramids) and is a wonderful listen for fans of any type of music spanning from emo to post-rock.

Recommended Tracks: Lucid, Sleep Spindles & K-Complexes



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user ratings (24)
Chart.
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
pixiesfanyo
June 10th 2006


1223 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

uhm. Dowsing is pretty epic.

Good review.

Jawaharal
June 10th 2006


1832 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Sleep Spindles and K Complexes is my favorite. Good review.

kno_kontrol
June 10th 2006


448 Comments


Pretty good review, although I lost interest in a few places after words I didnt know. Meh, good job anyway.

cbmartinez
June 10th 2006


2525 Comments


Good but a bit overrated if you ask me.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
June 10th 2006


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Nice review, but this album just doesn't appeal to me for some odd reason.

SunnyDayRealEstateAM
June 10th 2006


58 Comments


Very good review. Can anyone send this to me please?

Arrakakaka
August 11th 2006


685 Comments


I like the album art. Hittin' up Soulseek right now.

Cygnus Inter Anates
August 11th 2006


721 Comments


I haven't been able to find it on slsk.

Jawaharal
August 11th 2006


1832 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I have it but there is no way I'm logging in to slsk.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
August 11th 2006


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I have it but my connection is so slow even being on slsk would od ne help

Cygnus Inter Anates
August 11th 2006


721 Comments


This is good.

I'll rate it after I listen to it again.

Arrakakaka
August 12th 2006


685 Comments


I've found it on Soulseek. Takes time.

Cygnus Inter Anates
August 16th 2006


721 Comments


"Sleep Spindles and K-Complexes" is really the only track that stands out to me. Everything else is good though.

Tom Violence
August 23rd 2006


32 Comments


"Sleep Spindles and K-Complexes" has a drumbeat that totally rips of "Untitled 8" by Sigur Ros.

204409
Emeritus
August 24th 2006


3996 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I do not doubt that. I also bet Sigur Ros has a drum beat that rips off somebody else etc. The only truly original band is Creed because when God created the universe he also created music, and therefore his original music was filtered to modern man through the form of crappy post-grunge.

Tom Violence
August 24th 2006


32 Comments


God works in mysterious ways.



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