Australia - Full Moon 142 - 04/20/08
East Brunswick Club, Melbourne, 28.03.08
Perched on the brink of releasing their eagerly awaited sophomore album O Soundtrack My Heart on legendary label Warp Records, it's an exciting time for Australian band Pivot. Now stripped back to a trio - brothers Richard (guitar, bass, synths) and Laurence Pike (drums, synths), and Dave Miller (laptop) - they've evolved light years beyond the tasty confections of debut Make Me Love You into a new realm of fractured, futuristic instrumental rock that bears passing resemblance to their Warp labelmates Battles.
However, while Battles' merciless man-as-machine workouts can leave me cold, Pivot's music is devastatingly emotional. Their previous incarnation could perfectly render the masterful arrangements of their debut album live, but now the brothers Pike and Miller give the impression that they could tear Battles apart if it came to a Aliens vs Predator-style face-off between two spectacularly talented bands. This is ferocious stuff.
However, the secret to Pivot's magic is the way in which they make their instruments sound like they're yearning. This is technogically advanced music-making with a lot of heart. Laurence Pike brings his experience with now-defunct jazz trio Triosk to bear, splattering metallic noise that's fed through Miller's laptop and looped into an industrial symphony, over which Miller fires samples or loops Richard Pike's achingly urgent guitar lines.
Totally neglecting the wonderful tunes on Make Me Love You in favour of all new songs and a cover of Talking Heads' "I Zimbra", Pivot's set ricocheted from churning, spastic dirges to synth duets. Standouts included the new album's title track, forthcoming single "In The Blood" and "Epsilon", but each track
wowed with melodic and rhythmic flourishes and plenty of laptop fuckery that I won't even pretend to understand. Occasionally the chaos felt like too much, which left me disappointed that more simple pleasures such as "Make Me Love You" and "Kirsten Dunst" were overlooked, but part of this imprecision may have
been the band feeling their way through such complex new material.
I'm eagerly awaiting the release of O Soundtrack My Heart, and have no doubt that it will figure among the best albums of this year. I'll certainly be up the front at their next Melbourne show, jaw on the floor, dancing inside.
Copyright © 2008 Tim Clarke