Punknews.org
Pylon - Gyrate Plus (Cover Artwork)

Pylon

Pylon: Gyrate PlusGyrate Plus (2007)
DFA

Reviewer Rating: 4


Contributed by: JeloneJelone
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Athens, Ga. post-punk act Pylon released their full-length debut, Gyrate, in 1980. It's the sort of the album that, along with records like Wire's Chairs Missing and Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures, makes one wonder why musicians bothered forming post-punk bands. These three records alone sum up th.
iTunes StoreAmazon


Athens, Ga. post-punk act Pylon released their full-length debut, Gyrate, in 1980. It's the sort of the album that, along with records like Wire's Chairs Missing and Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures, makes one wonder why musicians bothered forming post-punk bands. These three records alone sum up the genre perfectly, delivering jerky yet fluent numbers in perfect succession. These albums belong to the next generation of rock 'n' roll canon. I admire and even enjoy bands like the Maccabees, Islands and YACHT for trying to continue this legacy of surreal dance music, but to a certain extent, they're 30 years too late.

Maybe the intro above is a little hyperbolic (only a little!), but it's hard not to get all NME when reading the liner notes to Gyrate Plus, a re-release featuring the original tracks backed by some choice singles and EPs. Testimonials from B-52's sing-speaker Fred Schneider, Gang of Four drummer Hugo Burnham and R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe in the liner notes make the case for Gyrate's legacy before the disc even plays. Schneider and Burnham talk up the group's live show, while Stipe compares the album to Wire's 154 and Gang of Four's entertainment!, calling it part of a "library that stands as shockingly modern and unparalleled these many years later."

Hype is empty without quality tunes to back it up, though. Fortunately, Gyrate Plus meets expectations. On these early recordings, the band still sounds pretty harsh, especially compared to their colder, distant, still-fun followup Chomp, but underneath Randy Bewley's wall-o'-noise guitars and Vanessa Briscoe Hay's occasionally shredding vocals exists a fine, funky place. Maybe it starts with drummer Curtis Crowe--dude locks into a nervous yet steady beat and keeps it there on tracks like "Dub" and "Driving School." Bassist Michael Lachowski often holds it down as well, finding his own groove while Bewley explores the space and Hay shrieks and wails.

Despite drawing from several different sessions, Gyrate Plus flows well. "Cool" and "Dub," from their first seven-inch released in 1979, opens the album, segueing into Gyrate perfectly. From there, it's more grooves and spacey imagery. Hay often creates moods instead of stories. Deciphering the tone of the songs usually hinges on a single lyric. But it's all alluring; as experimental as the band gets, there's still an underlying pop element anchoring the songs. An alternate recording of the track "Danger," helpfully labeled "Danger!!", follows, and it's a lot more dub-heavy. An unreleased demo of a song called "Functionality" finishes off the album. Sonically, it's a palate cleanser compared to "Danger!!" in that the quality is grainer yet the music is more straightforward and driving. It's not quite on par with the rest of the collection, which is probably why it never found a home until now, but it's still a worthwhile curio.

At 16 tracks and 57 minutes, Gyrate Plus is an important document for all punk fans to check out. Like Stipe writes in the liner notes, it's still relevant in the new millennium.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Red Delicious - Red Delicious [cassette]Various - Born to Kill [7-inch]Venice Is Sinking - Sand & Lines [12-inch]Tin Armor - Strange and Estranged [7-inch]David Bowie - The Next DayWhite Lung - Drown With the Monster [7-inch]Venice Is Sinking - AZARVenice Is Sinking - OkayBlack Flag - The First Four Yearsforgetters - forgetters [double 7-inch]

Please login or register to post comments.What are the benefits of having a Punknews.org account?
  • Share your opinion by posting comments on the stories that interest you
  • Rate music and bands and help shape the weekly top ten
  • Let Punknews.org use your ratings to help you find bands and albums you might like
  • Customize features on the site to get the news the way you want.
Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.

Exclusive Streams

Newest Reviews

Punknews.org Team

Other Places to Go