Review Summary: Your wick has burned away
Pianos Become The Teeth were never a band that stood out musically or vocally. It was always the passion of the performance, and the concept behind their lyrics and music that made them special. Every melodic, yet deeply distorted guitar chord felt like it had purpose, and every line belted out by vocalist Kyle Durfey matched that purpose with impassioned fervor. There was always a strong sense of cohesion to their albums, where every track seemed to compliment the others. Pianos Become The Teeth's third studio album Keep You
is cohesive in all the wrong ways: there are no defining moments or truly satisfying climaxes, there's an unmistakable lack of variety and dynamics, and the music and vocals rarely shine like they did in the past. In stripping away the loud/quiet/loud guitar work, and the intense screamed vocals, Pianos Become The Teeth have stripped away everything that made them interesting, and what's left is Keep You
: an album that feels hollow, feels like a band playing at half capacity, and worst of all, reveals a band that is the shell of its former self.
For a post-rock oriented album, the songs are criminally brief. Many of the tracks have some pleasant ideas, but almost all of them feel underdeveloped and songs start to peter out before they have a chance to really shine. Condensing all the ebb and flow, climaxes and rests that go into a great post-rock sound in only four and a half minutes is very hard to pull off, and unlike former label mate The World Is a Beautiful Place & I am No Longer Afraid To Die, Pianos Become The Teeth simply don't have the energy or the urgency to pull off a bare bones post-rock sound stripped of all screamo elements.
A major theme lyrically on Keep You
is vocalist Kyle Durfey's desire not to be defined by the death of his father, which served as the concept behind PBTT's sophomore release The Lack Long After.
As a fellow human being, I'm overjoyed that Kyle has reached closure with his father's death, but as a music listener I'm less than enthusiastic as closure doesn't inspire creative and compelling music quite the same as loss and strife. Much of the lyrical content is more on the inspirational side, but the stagnancy of the almost constantly mid-tempo music does nothing to compliment such optimism. The closest thing Keep You
has to an anthem would be the seven minute closer "Say Nothing", which is a strong track, but like the rest of the record, its slow moving, steady pace, and lack of dynamics is less likely to make the listener put their fist in the air and more likely to make them put their head on a pillow.
is not a bad record, but it fails to ignite a fire in me like Old Pride
and The Lack Long After
did before it. I enjoy certain aspects of Keep You,
and I do appreciate what Pianos Become The Teeth are trying to get across, but to declare this album as anything other than average would be an insult to the countless bands that manage to pull off this sound so much better, with so much more passion, enthusiasm, and fervor.