Microwaves are not super accurate. Sometimes the first bite of some delicious formerly frozen treat will be warm and, well, delicious, but soon enough you hit that icy gag-inducing center. And while I am sure there are many a microwave user that soldier on despite these cold patches, I just can’t settle for that shit.
Long, unnecessary, and possibly clichéd metaphor? Maybe, but much of Pegasuses-XL’s album, The Antiphon just seems underdeveloped, which is a shame considering that other tracks are downright strange and awesome trips that blend genres and destroy pre-conceived notions.
Opener “Drugs for Change” sort of exists as an anomaly. Its multi-movement structure takes it from tape hiss to power ballad to something that sounds like Subtle would have recorded it to Flaming Lips trippy-pop to explosive pysch-rock. It’s a dizzying trip that the band never attempts again over the course of the album.
From there, “Gold Power” sets the stage for the problems to come. The track starts up with some slowed vocals announcing in a deliciously dirty south manner, “Grey Goose and a whole lot of hydro,” before a fuzzy bass and dirty-ass beat that sounds like it was stolen from Caribou kick in and it seems more than appropriate to shout, “Fuck yes!” Unfortunately, that’s the highlight of the song. The rest is a boring and repetitive instrumental that sounds like it was conceived during a weekend recording project, and, well, that’s how a lot of The Antiphon feels. I’m not going to deny that spending some time with a few pals writing and recording some music is an appealing notion, but I don’t think I’d label the end result an album. Tracks here like “Special Time with Sandwiches in Lumicolourland,” “Serious Feelings” and “I Have No Idea, None” are basically just throwaways.
Enough about the gross cold chunks though -- let’s talk hot and delicious. “Marathon Mansion” is a hard-hitting gem that sounds like Zach de la Rocha and Al Burian dropping verses over a happy piano run and chunky beat, while “Walking Life” is a sugar-crazed freak out full of shiny synth screams, shouted vocals and vocoder-powered robotic funk. It almost sounds like a band for a children’s show got a little drunk before taking the stage and are all the better for it. Other songs like “Atmospheric Skull,” “The Big Haunt” and “Intermurals,” which hit on everything from Beck to MC Chris, also bring some funky and fun hits that pack big beats, interesting hooks, and raw vocals.
I’m not saying Pegasuses-XL need to simply stick to this scrappy take on indie hip-hop (or is it a hardcore punk take on synth-pop?), just that they are damn good at it -- that, and the fact that when they stray away from this sound they simply sound like experimental-lite music. They may be going for the avant-garde, ambient, blissful or funky, but the end result is merely unfulfilling, familiar, and lacking. Just cook it all the way through guys; I’ll be the first to eat that shit up.