Review ·

It's no surprise that the debut collaboration between Animal Collective's Avey Tare and Múm alum Kria Brekkan is nowhere near conventional. But Pullhair Rubeye is way out there. The recently married Dave Portner and Kristin Anna Valtysdottir (as they're known on tax forms) have created an atmospheric album that is alternately hypnotic and confounding. Although these songs were humbly built with little more than guitar, piano, and the occasional rattling hand percussion, they've been recast as utterly alien on the album because they play backward. It's as if the two crafted some delicate, lovely music, flipped the cassette in the eight-track and fell in love with the sound of these songs running in reverse.

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As such, the music on Pullhair Rubeye veers from jerky stutters to moody waves. You might expect the presence of Portner's soaring Beach Boys-inspired singing and Valtysdottir's meek, childlike voice to tether these songs to this world. But, inverted, their voices stretch and erupt unpredictably: It's like they rented studio time in the red room from Twin Peaks.

 

Although the album is far more indulgent than legitimately experimental, it also reveals the listener's role in making sense of music. As jarring and disorienting as the songs initially seem, patterns and melodies begin to emerge with each listen. Because we expect to hear conventional structures and repeated motifs, the songs slowly conform to our expectations. It's doubtful that Pullhair Rubeye will even win over fans of Animal Collective. But, like the tape-speed experiments on the second album by seminal Krautrockers Neu!, these songs demonstrate how music remains music, no matter how disfigured or estranged.

 

***

Label: http://www.paw-tracks.com

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/animalcollectivetheband

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