Tuesday, 17 August 2010

PVT - Church With No Magic (Warp)

When legal reasons forced Australian three-piece Pivot to become PVT, a perfect opportunity was presented to said band to make an immense comeback from the two-year period since their last album, ‘O Soundtrack My Heart’. Thus met with much anticipation, ‘Church With No Magic’ sadly does not quite deliver. Or perhaps more accurately, aforementioned opportunity has not been seized to its full potential because ‘Church With No Magic’ is still a great record, make no mistake.

From the eerie chill that seems to seep out of the speakers during the Portishead-esque ‘Crimson Swan’ to the charming attempts at pop songs that are ‘Window’ and the title track, this album has at once an instant allure yet is also a grower, delivering more on each listen. True masters of the bedroom sound, the band certainly fulfil their mission statement of transforming ‘common metals into gold’, in a manner that is both innovative and unpatronising to the listener. Classical complexities such as the tempo change in ‘Windows’ and dynamic fluctuations in opening track ‘Community’ are well-placed and add depth, as opposed to being clumsily plonked in for no apparent reason, as is sadly so often the case in popular music.

Yet despite all this it is hard not to feel that the band could have gone a little further on this album; pushed forward to greater frontiers. Its overall sound is likeable in a comfortable, ironic-nostalgia way; akin to an amusing 1980s imagining of The Future, a sci-fi film set in the same era. Which at the end of the day isn’t really enough. To say that something doesn’t live up to the hype surrounding it often seems unfair, as hype is usually created by everyone other than the creators of the art themselves. So it seems suffice to draw on wise words of past teachers – good try, but could do better.

Words : Rachel Cranshaw

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