Released: 26th August 2022
Pianos Become The Teeth’s journey has been anything but straightforward, although their evolution following their split EP with Touché Amoré has been nothing short of spectacular. ‘Drift’, the group’s fifth full-length, is the culmination of this voyage of discovery.But, while the story of Pianos Become The Teeth could be seen as an odyssey, ‘Drift’ is also a journey designed to be enjoyed from beginning to end. It’s a monumental, monolithic slab of bruising and taut post-hardcore that needs to be appreciated in the round rather than as chunked-up soundbites.
Tracks sometimes – appropriately – drift into one another (the relationship between ‘Easy’ and ‘The Days’ is so serene it’s divine), and sometimes they collide like tectonic plates (the transition between ‘Skiv’ and ‘Hate Chase’ is so powerful it could blow speakers). In a fast-moving digital world, it makes for a bold stylistic choice, but it also handsomely rewards investment and repeated listens as it ebbs and flows along its serpentine journey. Part of this is down to the deliberate and considered approach of Pianos Become The Teeth; nothing feels out of place, and every second of music adds to the whole picture, while there’s a depth and richness to the sound that is all-consuming.
Unsurprisingly, the Baltimore group have gone all out to create something musically dense and layered. Having relocated to a cabin in the woods to record ‘Drift’, the environment serves as an extra instrument, further embellished by strings and horns at appropriate points. This is especially true on closing number ‘Pair’, which is perhaps the brightest moment on the record. Nevertheless, these accoutrements serve as beacons, breaking through the foggy, almost oppressive intensity which permeates the album..And it’s this tension between intensity and clarity which lives at the centre of ‘Drift’. Like the recently-reunited Elliott, Pianos Become The Teeth have found the perfect line between post-hardcore, indie-rock and post-rock, marrying drama, accessibility and nuance. It’s not hard to see Elliott’s landmark ‘Song In The Air’ as the spiritual forebear to ‘Drift’, considering it’s also a record tied together by a unified sound, aesthetic and delivery. Such an approach might be bold, but for Pianos Become The Teeth it has resulted in their finest album to date. ■ Rob Mair