Pit Er Pat – The Flexible Entertainer

8.1/10

Pit Er Pat are an experimental/electro duo from Los Angeles, CA.

The day I first heard Pit Er Pat they were opening for The New Year @Schubas in Chicago. There was a guy in the back row recording the whole affair and refused to let me sit down because his recording device was taking up that particular seat. Coincidentally, you can hear that bastard’s recording here. Despite that, not a bad show in the least. I was instantly taken with Faye Davis-Jeffries’ delicate vocalizations and playful keyboards, Rob Doran’s aggressive-yet-hooky bass lines and Butchy Fuego’s incredibly precise drumming. Soon after the show, I bought all their material: Their Emergency EP from Overcoat Recordings and a button or 2.

Soon after that show in 2004, Pit Er Pat were signed to Thrill Jockey Records and have put out 5 records since then; each more different than the last. The Flexible Entertainer is no exception to that. With each record that has proceeded Emergency, Pit Er Pat have evolved ever so slightly towards a more experimental sound to a point where today they are nearly indistinguishable from themselves 6 short years ago. With Rob Doran’s departure from the band and Faye Davis-Jeffries’ departure from playing keyboards in favor of the guitar nearly entirely, this is further evidence of the natural transition of their sound. With their last record, High Time, Fuego began experimenting with electronics in his drumming and the evolution to this record has resulted in even more frequent use of those elements. The end result is a record that remains intrinsically Pit Er Pat: Experimental, entirely unpredictable, and worth taking notice of.

Emergency‘s follow-up, Shakey, was easily accessible and easy to love at first listen. They then followed that up with 3D Message: A more experimental-yet-interesting listen that seemed like a natural move towards the aspects they’d more frequently adopt on their next record, Pyramids. Pyramids was by far their darkest record and a clear departure from what I was used to hearing from them. This was then followed by High Time: A dark, yet somewhat electronic-focused record that began their next phase of evolution. This of course leads us to this year’s The Flexible Entertainer. Not nearly as dark anymore and with plenty of hooky beats and guitar leads, this record redefines who they are yet again… and without any argument from me. Every track on this record builds on the next and actually gets better the more it goes on. This is due in part to the simplicity of their songs’ make-up and fusing of ideas from only 2 members, I’d imagine. Sometimes one less member makes it that much easier for a song come together more quickly and more cohesively. The result is Fuego’s tribal-like drumming alongside intricate beats that compliment Davis-Jeffries’ guitar and delicate-as-ever vocals.

Overall, The Flexible Entertainer is quintessential Pit Er Pat: You never see them coming and you wonder who/what they’ll inspire next with their innovation… 8.1/10

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MP3: Water