Psychedelic Danish four-piece Pinkunoizu have stated that while recording their second album, they 'somehow became drawn towards working with a bending and falling feeling.' The most explicit realisation of this comes immediately at the start of The Drop, as the record begins with the sound of a plane nosediving into your eardrums. But while the title might suggest one long descent, it turns out that the album's dynamics are far more varied.
Take the opening track 'The Great Pacific Garbage Patch'. After that initial 'drop', the track floats eerily along on a bed of organ chords and ghostly vocals, with only a methodical ticking to dictate its pace. Then halfway through, the track slowly begins to rise again - the humming bassline slowly picking up the tempo, as fragments of guitar and burbling synth noise flit in and out of the track. The overall effect is transportive - indeed, many of these songs feel evocative of somehow being in a completely different place.
'Necromancer' openly displays a love for krautrock, with its motorik drumbeat and pleasant, looping synth lines. The idea of the 'drop' comes into play more subtly here, with the pitch of the synthesisers modulating to alter the mood of the song. That's only half the story though, as after a brief burst of noise, the drumbeat resumes - but this time as a backdrop for the sort of neo-psychedelia recently perfected by The Horrors, with soaring guitar tones to boot. It's a wonderful accomplishment, so much so that it makes me wonder if the band have peaked too early. Thankfully 'Moped' instantly proves that they've got more to give, mixing its baggy beat and psychedelic wall of sound with vocal interjections that call to mind The Go! Team - and without wishing to belittle what comes afterwards, this pair of tracks prove to be the record's highlight.
The record only struggles to take off when its ideas don't feel like they have enough time to be fully realised. Noticeably shorter than most of the album's other tracks, 'The Swollen Map' is a melancholy lullaby that feels like it could be the basis for something much bigger. Instead, it's relegated to serving as a prelude to 'Pyromancer' - a song that demonstrates the band's ability to juxtapose different tones, mixing mesmeric, looping patterns with untamed bursts of guitar noise. After this mid-album drop in tempo, 'Tin Can Valley' spurs things into life again. Relatively speaking, it's the most straightforward rock song on the record, built on a wiry guitar tone that's simultaneously evocative of both the west and the east - with its propulsive drumbeat and relentless energy, it could be the soundtrack to a dusty desert road-trip or a frantic kung-fu movie.
The record's last two tracks both veer off in very different directions to anything that has come before. 'I Said Hell You Said No' starts out as a slice of glamorous, orchestral trip-hop reminiscent of Portishead, before taking on a more melancholy feel in its acoustic-driven second half. That acoustic guitar sound is also carried into the final track, with the dreamy pastoral folk of 'Down In The Liverpool Stream' bringing the record to an unexpectedly mellow close.
The band have freely admitted that when they went into the studio they 'didn't have any overall concept for the record,' but the lack of a cohesive tone or style present throughout The Drop never seems like a bad thing. In fact, the band's versatility proves to be one of their greatest assets - what makes the record a success is the way Pinkunoizu harness their varied ideas and refine them into something accessible and engaging.
7Paul Faller's Score