Pivot have always seemed more interesting as an idea than as an actual band. Their 2008 Warp debut O Soundtrack My Heart was heavy on ideas, but light on payoff that extended beyond bass guitar riffz + powerful live drummer + '70s synthesizers. The whole was very much the sum of its parts. And rarely more than that. Watching over concert footage from the title track from that album again recently, I was struck by how people were into it, but hardly losing their shit.
That might've been a lackluster gig, but I think it's indicative of the direction that PVT have taken with their newest album, Church with No Magic, which sees the group tighter, more anthemic and more of a band than ever before. Check out the video to "Window," and it's hard not to hear (and see) the difference. Which isn't to say that they don't sound as quirky as ever. Despite the slight name change, PVT's referents are the same as the ones displayed on their RA podcast last year—Brian Eno, Moebius, Klaus Schulze—buoyed by a punchy rock backing.
Somehow it makes sense on Warp, which has shifted over the past few years to encompass a plethora of sounds from the indie rock world. Church's best songs utilize the simple, deep grooves of a band like Menomena, a group that has many of the same ideas but comes at them from a distinctly American perspective. The farting synth (or is that a bass?) from "Light Up Bright Fires" is as muscular as anything ever put to tape by Les Savy Fav. Few bands from the States, though, would seriously offer up something like "Waves and Radiation," a brooding wave of synthesizers that lap up on one another like one of the side two miniatures from Kraftwerk's Autobahn, smack dab in the middle of the album.
That's what made PVT interesting as an idea. As the group continues to play together in the studio when they construct their albums—this is only the second time they've done so—they'll better balance their outre impulses with the unique requirements of the festival stage. On Church, they've done it more successfully than ever. I already can't wait to see the video for their third album on Warp.
Buy PVT - Church With No Magic at
Tracklist: PVT - Church With No Magic 01. Community
02. Light Up Bright Fires
03. Church With No Magic
04. Crimson Swan
06. The Quick Mile
07. Waves & Radiation
08. Circle of Friends
10. Only the Wind Can Hear You