Pagan Day - PYPY (Slovenly/Black Gladiator)
If Thee Oh Sees are a version of The Replacements for the Two-Thousand-And-Teens - as in critical darlings overlooked by the mainstream, including me in both instances - where does that leave Montreal’s PYPY? Playing this sort of fucked-up mix of psych, electronica and punk is not going you pigeonholed anywhere fast.
And that’s the dime upon which this review turns. PYPY is on Slovenly, a mighty little label out of Reno in Nevada that’s cornered a good deal of the market for lo-fi garage skronk. PYPY break that stereotype - and a dozen others - in the course of seven songs.
This starts as a record full of buzzing guitar music with the edgy vocal of Annie-Claude Deschênes running over the top. She’s a cross between Kate Pierson and Lene Lovich, sans yodelling. Then it detours. The fork in the road is “Daffodils”, where a plodding disco beat and throaty keyboards dominate with spidery guitars inserted - by force. It’s bordering on a dirge but somehow stays fresh and in-your-face like a Suicide song.
“Too Much Cocaine” switches vocalists and mashes a nagging male rap with punk asthetics. Noise annoys. “She’s Gone” takes it back to fuzz - laid one with a shovel - by marrying a wrecking ball rhythm to a chirping Deschênes vocal. “Ya Ya Ya/Psychedelic Overlords” climbs into Devo territory before bringing back the fuzz for an extended outro. It’s not as guttural as the title track but it’ll do.
There's a danger in this sort of music in that it might come across as being abrasive for the hell of it, utlimately signifying nothing. Maybe that's why I don't get Thee Oh-Sees. This one won't dominate my CD player for a month of Sundays but if I want to seek out some stylistic mind-fuck, I know what I'll be grabbing for.