May 26, 2010 Web Exclusive
There are a helluva lot of toys out there these days for the curious musician, and it's good to know bands like Growing are playing with them. Pumps was constructed with a mess of effects and instruments that aren't immediately identifiable as modern or vintage, and sees the Brooklyn trio officially leaving behind the guitar drone (at least for the time being) in favor of glitchy electronic explorations more in line with recent work of such artists as Black Dice than the doomy soundscapes of Sunn O))) and their ilk.
In fact, let's just do away with genre for this one, because the spectacle of hyphens would be too hilarious/depressing/pretentious. No-wave-electro-dub? Post-2000s-noise-techno? Modern-day drug-accompaniment? You get the idea. It's extremely trippy music, claustrophobic and grating, driven by drum machines or arpeggiated synths, and drenched in dubbed-out vocal mumblings that are really just additional instruments. Everything's dissected down to onomatopoeia, almost: squelches, blips, and copious booooongs.
Let's accept the challenge that is a track named "Highlight" and use it as the illustrative tune. It starts with a percussive drum machine pattern, which is quickly joined by odd samples, keys and spoken echo-vocals. Its choppy melodic synth lead is a perfect example of how even in music this esoteric, the pop bug can still bite. And maybe that's what Pumps is, in a way-Growing's twisted vision of a pop record. (www.growingsound.com)
Author rating: 6/10
Average reader rating: 4/10
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