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Artist of the Month
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June 2016
Pinkwash
"Collective Sigh
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Solemn resonance slides the door open to “No Real Witness,” the opening track from Pinkwash’s debut album, Collective Sigh. The much-anticipated LP from the prog-punk combination of Joey Doubek and Ashley Arnwine is available via Don Giovanni Records, and takes little time to develop its emotively-charged release, as the unrelenting battering of percussion unites with those eerie key/synth tones, uncorking the aggression. And with a surge, “Metastatic” jumps out with a sense of controlled high-speed rhythm. The guitar riff and percussion weave in a tightly bound flow, giving way in moments to Doubek’s soaring, lingering vocal outcry. The deep stemming personal feel and weight of his lyrics are thrust forward as the instruments smash ahead.
 
The instantaneous groove of “Gumdrop” surrounds you in a steady power-exuding bounce. The kinetic energy is infectious as that locked-in guitar pattern and pummeling snap of percussion mesmerizes, and Doubek delivers a set of serious-toned yet matter-of-factly-delivered lines: “Feeling of going down, shot to the ground, you’ll have to put me down”. Keys slice through that hypnotic attack like a bright, omen-echoing light.
 
The album takes a moment to breathe as “inhale, exhale” is methodically repeated in “Sigh,” while anticipating the foreboding guitar that emerges gradually from the background, with an upper-cutting sledgehammer of sludgy instrumentation. “Walk Forward With My Eyes Closed” - much like the rest of album - appears to hit on the pain and grief of deep and profound loss. That musical push toward coping is surrounded by the encompassing walls of heavy sonics that gather momentum as Doubek musters up strength. “I’ll walk forward with my eyes closed.”
 

With a thunder-smashing yet deeply personal side, Collective Sigh etches its message at the core, transforming the power of grief into a heavy–hitting memorable display of emotion. - Michael Colavita

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scene blog

Album Review: Exorcism - Power Animal

Album Review: Exorcism - Power Animal

The words of Power Animal may be obscured by a boatload of studio manipulation, but what they’re communicating is always clear: This is Feel-Good Music. Evident from Power Animal’s major-key synth hooks and disco percussions is a love of the kind of nostalgic sentimentality bands like M83 and Passion Pit maximize with unrelenting waves of keyboard and second-wave British invasion bands like The Kooks channel into plain-spoken love narratives. But unlike these late-aught champions of electronic-indie, Power Animal don’t do “pleasant” by blending every pleasant thing they could think of into an overwhelming pastiche. Instead of indulging dream-pop’s natural affinity for cheese and excess, Power Animal strip it down into the grimy, humble Exorcism, an EP that, with its bare-bones approach and subtle use of hooks, aims to reclaim the genre’s humanity. 
 
There’s no denying that Exorcism presents itself as “quirky.” The jerky keyboard lines and garbled vocals sound as if they’re culled from records warped by years of sitting in an attic (an image also brought to you by the record’s hazy, Mono production), and the wonky structure of its opening suite “Better Water” suggests the hippie-warbling excess Exorcism could’ve easily devolved into. But as the EP progresses, these cracks begin to reveal the sincere, very real character hiding underneath the saccharine signifiers. The little winks that pepper Exorcism’s excellent second half make it practically interactive. “Mold Spores” was already assured its place as the album’s best tune before the chuckle that slips through its second verse makes its glee infectious, as if we’re being let in on whatever great time Power Animal are scoring. By Exorcism’s eponymous closer, we’re sharing the record’s smile.
 
It could be a more “conventionally” pretty record, but it’d be worse for it. This ambitious kind of pop has a tendency to become weightless in its nostalgia-bating, and while Power Animal certainly capture the comfort nostalgia offers, they also capture its insubstantiality. Built from bits and fragments of pop-eras past, Exorcism sounds as if it could break apart at any moment. It holds together, of course, but as music that sounds like it wants to save the world through sheer positivity goes, Exorcism accomplishes something far more impressive: It actually manages to inspire the feelings it evokes.
 
You can purchase the album HERE, and all profits from digital sales will be donated to Philabundance, a local charity organization that provides food to the needy in the Philly area. - Adam Downer
 

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