Pitch Black - This Is The Modern Sound (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Pitch Black

This Is The Modern Sound (2005)


Pitch Black's self-titled debut is apparently regarded by many as a competent profile of East Bay punk, albeit one that borders on AFI plagiarism. So after three years passed and the addition of a keyboardist in Jeremy Goody is factored in, it's hard to say what the next logical step in musical evolution would be. I doubt it's This Is The Modern Sound, but maybe that's what gives the band's sophomore effort its charm.

The band has jumped to a more classic punk-influenced, slightly more subdued though still aggressive rock sound in the vein of Your Enemies Friends and former tour mates Pretty Girls Make Graves than anything else. What makes it odd is that for all the differences, there still seems to be a lot the album would share in common with Pitch Black's self-titled disc. It's just as dark with vocals as equally snotty as their past style would command. There's a somehow restrained yet semi-chaotic wall-of-sound for most of the tracks, filled with screeching guitars, spine-tingling organs, and a ghostly, yelping front man in Kevin Cross, all helped by production a bit more retro than most of PB's slick-sounding contemporaries. It's honestly fucking creepy, and never in an overly gothic, ironic way.

"Tonopah," which opens the album, gives a good idea of what's to come. Cross yells over staccato-like slammed drum fills and abrupt keyboard chords, and the mood is pretty much set. "Plastic Eyes" raises a few notches on the experimental meter with some weird bells and whistles for lack of a better phrase, with its follower "Mine Shafts And The Laws Of Gravity" picking up the tempo a bit and subsequently keeping a classic Bay punk influence intact. "Bronze Lady Pt. 2" is an interesting interlude of sorts towards the end of the disc, with wah-wah trumpet and some strings leading the pace of the 1:29 track.

This Is The Modern Sound isn't just an interesting step for Pitch Black; it's an indie rock trip through a very non-sardonic haunted house.

Sutured Heart