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Pinkunoizu
The Drop John Doran , August 9th, 2013 08:09

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There's something so incredibly indulgent about listening to an album while doing nothing else. To turn off literally all other sensory inputs and just concentrate on the music is almost debauched. And while lying on the couch in the dark in an empty house with curtains shut and the volume turned up to picture frame-rattling volume with a blindfold on is how I like to enjoy Bolt Thrower and Sunn O))), not many other bands are accorded the same privileges. Fuck you late capitalism and middle age for insisting I always be doing three things at once - even when I'm enduring my five hours per night sleep, I'm usually working out how to pay bills while processing a catastrophically ill-judged supper of cheese and having a terrible nightmare all at the same time.

Luckily, several plane flights, a good pair of headphones and a dark hotel room have given me the ideal conditions to immerse myself fully in the new album The Drop, by psychedeclic pop group Pinkunoizu this week. The Danish four piece have already released a mini-album (Second Amendment) of note this year - only the excellent tracks 'Moped' (OOIOO-style J-psych) and 'Tin Can Valley' (faux Middle Eastern surf rock a la Devil's Anvil) appear on both. This is the proper follow-up to last year's Free Time! but is also their most assured, playful and satisfying release to date.

The band hate being asked about their name (like anyone with a slightly daft name dreamed up in haste - see also Biffy Clyro and the Master Musicians Of Bukkake, no doubt ) but it's actually extremely apt that they are named after the Japanese term for pink noise. I won't pretend that I know the actual maths of pink noise but essentially it is an artificially adjusted version of the "flat" white noise spectrum bowed inwards or outwards to "colour" certain parts of the noise range, such as the low end. Now this information, coupled with the fact the album is called The Drop, could set brostep alarms ringing. However, the title refers to the contrast between two complimentary sonic textures - and the "switch" between them - on each track. You can rest assured that there are no "wub-wub-wubs" to contend with here.

Instead Pinkunoizu take synth pop, psych folk, surf rock, krautrock and other marginal forms of pop and rock from the last 50 years, and use them for the basis of extremely enjoyable excursions in deep listening. Most of the album was improvised in one week, which is kind of stunning given how melodious and hook heavy it is. The album opens with a literal drop, a descending synth drone which sounds like the screaming engine on a jet plane desperately trying to resist its vertiginous plummet towards Earth, before launching into a pulsing motorik groove which re-imagines late 20th century urban transportation white elephants such as the maglev as utopian success stories. The Germanic textures of this opening carry on during superb second track 'The Necromancer', which exists somewhere between La Dusseldorf and Harmonia before leaving the ground, escaping the Earth's gravity and sailing off into far more cosmic, Hawkwind meets Tangerine Dream-like territories.

Do you remember when you were young, lying on the grass during summer time, listening to how different things sound on a hot, still day? This has probably got something to do with heat affecting the vibration of air molecules, making it a better transmitting substance for sound waves, but whatever the reason, stuff just sounds magic on a hot summer's day. Can you remember someone watering their lawn a few houses down the street? Can you remember someone opening a can of lemonade, the hiss of carbonated bubbles going through a delicious phase effect as more liquid pours from the can, creating a longer echo chamber? Can you remember pouring space dust candy into your mouth and listening to the crackling and popping sound it made on your tongue; and how this phased up and down as you widened and contracted your mouth through various O-shapes?

Now, lie down on the couch, turn your phone off, close your eyes and play the glorious 'In The Liverpool Stream' and listen to the fizzing drinks, the hissing fauna, the mouth candy, the lawns being watered and instead of thinking, 'Fuck this, those dishes won't do themselves', just leave them for 40 minutes - you have my permission. Who knows, maybe this time they'll do themselves.

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Permafrost
Aug 11, 2013 3:26am

John, I could'nt agree more.

I listened to the entire album while driving from Minneapolis back to my home town of Chicago. It's been a long time since I've fully surrendered from start to finish......yeah, The New Puritans comes close but this is all together different beast. Easily will make my Top Five short list; nah...... Top Three.

P.s. So, are we ever getting John Foxx in your British Masters series...? Hell, Numan took so much from Sir Dennis.

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tdc
Aug 12, 2013 5:30am

Thanks for the tip, John. Now that I've heard the album I can't believe I've not seen it written about anywhere else. I'll be sure to tell others.

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Mike
Aug 12, 2013 2:36pm

Great review of a truly excellent album, only Nick Cave and The Knife are competing with this for album of the year.

I played it 3 times in a row upon receiving it and was still staggered.

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CheapVinyl
Apr 10, 2016 7:49pm

Spellbinding; oh to be able to lie down in a darkened room and rattle the picture frames. If I could this beautiful noise would be why. And perhaps Wand's 1000 Days.

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