image Shakey
Pit er Pat
Release: March 8, 2005
Thrill Jockey Records

A premier musical band, at least that’s how Pit er Pat defines itself. And if you classify premiere music as organ rich, poppy, franticly percussive, simple melodious indie rock well, you’ll agree with their definition.  Yet, taking the term literally I would have to disagree.  I hear nothing leading the way into foremost musical territory.  Not to proclaim that I didn’t enjoy the subtle beauty of Shakey, but groundbreaking it is not.

Fay Davis-Jeffers leads the line-up with combined vocal and organ duties. Rob Doran of Alkaline Trio fame plays bass.  I just realized maybe this is why Pit er Pat is convinced they’re “premiere?” They’re definitely breaking the glass ceiling of watered down emo-centric indie rock!  Yet when you consider Butchy Fuego of Neutral Milk Hotel fills in the last third of the band, the tempo seems a bit more accurate.

Aside from the haughty self assertion, Shakey is a great album.  Direct comparisons go toward Stereolab, Air, Saint Etienne, maybe even a little Silver ApplesPit er Pat is a pop group writing genuine pop albums.  The surprising part is even though the band consists of only three people (with the noticeable lack of a six string) they’re sound is remarkably dense and simultaneously transparent.  Pit er Pat has limited their overdubs on Shakey to a few vocal melodies, and very sparse extra instrumentation.  Production tricks are limited to proximity, depth of field (reverb/delay), and panning yet the sound doesn’t bore or pretend to be more than a talented group of three.

Tracking in 9 songs at a little over 34 minutes is pushing the album territory.  Personally I would’ve gone with the EP classification and convinced everyone they were getting more for less.  But that’s an economics discussion we’ll save for another time.  Right now, I’m heading back to catching up with next months record releases.