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PIT ER PAT
Pit Er Pat has developed a strong following nationwide with their second LP, Shakey. And their loyal fanbase in their hometown of Chicago seems to be absolutely rabid over the band. Currently two of their three releases on Thrill Jockey are out of print.
Pit Er Pat's escalating popularity is well deserved. First off, they are obviously a talented group of kids. Secondly, their brand of art-rock far out enough to be hip, but close enough to the mainstream of pop to remain listenable. It is comparable to the musical stylings of their label mates Tortoise (who they toured with in '04) or Sea and Cake - full of dissonance and redeeming resolutions.
The trio's off-kilter mix of swirling vocal melodies, inventive drumbeats and wandering electric pianos tiptoes across the boundaries of jazz, rock and no-wave. It's a combination that will sound immediately familiar to people who listen to the likes of Blonde Redhead or Deerhoof, but what makes Pit Er Pat's brand of semi-avante-music so idiosyncratic are the lyrics and vocal delivery of Fay Davis-Jeffers.
While it is easy to imagine Davis-Jeffers delivering the lines from Shakey while wearing an innocent grin; such a delivery would be in strong contrast with the morose lyrical contents of the album. "Underwater Wave Game" is both a story about a childhood game and the struggle against death. Surprisingly, the way she sings it conveys both the lighthearted topics at the surface of the song and the darker emotions that lie below.
Despite all the hints at technical prowess on their respective instruments (the album is full of intricate drum-licks, keyboard arpeggios and bass runs), the most impressive thing about Pit Er Pat is their unified sense of simplicity, grace and restraint.
While the rhythmic style displayed on Shakey may occasionally recall the herky-jerky feel of early Talking Heads records, the atmosphere of the disc remains smooth and delicate. The group's syncopations interlock tightly with each other and buttress Davis-Jeffers vocals without dominating the songs.
Recorded over the course of six days at Key Club Recording Company, the basic tracks were done live and are a testament to the group's cohesiveness and capabilities.
Pit Er Pat will be performing on July 23rd at Howie and Sons Pizza in Visalia.