Pylon, Gyrate Plus

Nils Bernstein

By Nils Bernstein

on 03.12.12 in Reviews

Gyrate Plus


One of the firstU.S.indie bands outside ofNew gain some degree of international attention, Pylon crossed the jittery art-school shimmy of Talking Heads with the angular, beat-driven post-punk of Gang of Four, minus the politics. For all their hard edges and anxiety, though, this is essentially party music; as varied as bands in theAthens,Georgia, scene were (the B-52s and R.E.M. don’t immediately seem like spiritual brethren), two things they all shared were danceability and a hint of Southern twang.

Party music with danceability and a hint of Southern twang

Despite her breathless delivery, singer Vanessa Briscoe lacks the pathos of Cindy Wilson and Kate Pierson (and the lyrics are essentially meaningless), but that’s not the point – Briscoe is a fourth instrument, forcing yelps and grunts through her body as if it were a tenor sax. This reissue includes an unreleased track (“Functionality”) and the entirety of a 1980 EP that included their crucial debut single, “Cool” b/w “Dub” (“Cool” was a minor club hit and was more recently covered by Deerhunter; “Dub”‘s main riff sounds cribbed from Gang Of Four’s “Not Great Men” except that it predates it). Later Pylon albums toned down the staccato energy for a more melodic jangle, but never matched the vitality here.