Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Album Review: Giraffes? Giraffes! - Pink Magick

Whenever I think of music that sounds exactly like how the album cover looks, I think of My Bloody Valentine's influential 1991 album, Loveless, that set the foundation for what we now know as shoegaze. The album sounds exactly what it looks like, Belinda Butcher and Kevin Shields making blurry pink haze with their guitars. After listening to Giraffes? Giraffes! third full length, Pink Magick, I feel a similar connection between the artwork and the music. The artwork is extremely abstract and messy, yet beautiful and creative. And there are no two finer adjectives that I could think of to describe the album. Amongst Pink Magick's frantic breakdown-like explosions and intense post-rock influenced crescendos is some of the most unique and innovative music I have ever heard in recent years.

Giraffes? Giraffes! is an experimental math rock duo that consists of Joe Andreoli on guitar and Ken Topham on kit. Assumptions made from artwork aside, the band sounds like a less painful and cleaner version of Lightning Bolt, but with an extremely varied sound (not to mention a guitar in place of a bass). The band's style is immediately evident as the album begins, with the introduction "Es And Em And Em And Ems", a brief, thick cloud of shoegazy guitar noise and frantic drum hits and cymbal taps. But in the midst of Pink Magick's disorderly soundscapes, the duo has no problem in putting together a cohesive and enjoyable song. The second track on the album, "Scorpion Bowls At The Hong Kong", is driven along by a catchy, almost dancable drum beat and an infectious guitar hook that often has me coming back and listening over and over again. One of the standout tracks, "Transparent Man/Invisible Woman (80,000,000 Years Alone)", exhibits a strong progressive influence, which uses a clean and slightly flangered guitar that sounds like something out of a Joe Satriani track, a glockenspiel, and a cold, desolate sounding synthesizer, adding on to the already unique and varied tone to the album.

Pink Magick shows an extremely wide variety of genre influences, from the noisy mess of "Es And Em And Em And Ems", to the psychadelic tones of "Totally Boneless!!!" and "Werewolf Grandma With Knives (Part One: The Changeling)", and even treading on the ground of black metal with "Werefolf Grandma With Knives (Part Two: Don't Die)". Pink Magick closes with the dark and crushing seven and a half minute "DRGNFKR", which wraps up everything the band has done throughout the album in a chaotic yet beautiful explosion of blast beats and screaming guitar notes. The middle section of the track includes a post-rock sounding interlude, slowly building up and exploding into a grandiose, Mogwai-esque jam and closing with a low purring synth beneath a light drum beat.

My knowledge of math rock might not be completely full and developed, but I believe that to say that what Giraffes? Giraffes! is doing on Pink Magick is nothing new might just be a lie. While drawing ideas from different genres and other math rock bands such as Tera Melos, the duo creates a completely unique texture unlike anything I have heard before. Giraffes? Giraffes! is bringing new things to the table that I think that any fan of experimental music can appreciate. Pink Magick is messy yet catchy and poppy, abrasive yet lush and beautiful, and I feel that it is just an overall accomplishment for its genre.

1. Es And Em And Em And Ems
2. Scorpion Bowls At The Hong Kong
3. Totally Boneless!!!
4. Werewolf Grandma With Knives (Part One: The Challenging)
5. Werewolf Grandma With Knives (Part Two: Don't Die)
6. Koscinski's Requiem For A Golden Chariot
7. Curse Of The Tooth Nightmare
8. Transparent Man/Invisible Woman (80,000,000 Years Alone)

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