Deserves to take the duo to a new level of recognition.
Mike Diver 2010-01-08
For their latest LP, Chicago-formed avant-rock duo Pit Er Pat – Butchy Fuego and Fay Davis-Jeffers – inverted the typical record-to-tour creative process, initially putting these songs together specifically for a trip to Europe. Upon their return home, the pair set about recording their results, and the end product is, largely, an honest reflection of their original intention: streamlined and wholly immediate. Little is added, barring a depth absent in the live arena, and only one track (Intro) is a studio-born arrangement.
That opener, all reversed sound and distant rattles, suggests a more brooding affair than what ultimately follows, but does show that this is a band fully fluent in studio vernacular – their style is a multifarious one, difficult to pin down as one might acts similarly pigeonholed. They’re capable of producing the euphoria felt in an Animal Collective or F*** Buttons recording; but equally they can strip everything down to raw components, coming across as an economical RnB machine of a Pharrell-does-Snoop persuasion. Just listen to Water and resist the temptation to draw a percussive parallel with Drop It Like It’s Hot, or a lost Missy Elliott joint from the late 90s.
Comparisons to the elementary drums, MPC-beats and sensitive guitars of the likes of Telepathe, Warpaint and YACHT are there to be made, too. But while Pit Er Pat do fly close to peers when rendered in this comparative restraint, their inherent esoteric tendencies do ensure that no song is followed by a mirror image. So Nightroom layers its vocals – desperate, pleading – atop a wandering guitar that’s far fuller than that heard just minutes earlier. Godspot picks its paths of eerie acoustics more carefully, more deliberately, the effect akin to Fever Ray with the low end rubbed out. Chavez Ravine clicks and snaps like In Rainbows Radiohead feeling totally tropical, and closer Specimen yawns with a delightful dub sigh that’s one part languorous sanguinity, one part sumptuous liquidity.
While it’s certainly not easy listening, The Flexible Entertainer’s accessibility is obvious to anyone with the scantest experience of any of the aforementioned comparative collectives. It’s experimental but aimed at embracing an audience first and furthering its makers' out-there adventures second. As such, it’s the most instantly rewarding Pit Er Pat album yet, and deserves to take the duo to a new level of recognition.