Their recent inclusion on the Warp roster has garnered Pivot numerous comparisons to that label’s forward-thinking electronic acts, such as Autechre, as well as more recent full-band signings like Battles. Both of these comparisons are true to some extent, but neither really hits the mark. Pivot lack the frenetic energy that comes to mind at mention of Battles, and they definitely do not share the extremely experimental aspects of Autechre. The truth is somewhere in between: They are a groovy math-rock band with subtle electronic studio flourishes. Perhaps a better frame of reference than any of their labelmates would provide is the fact that O Soundtrack My Heart was mixed by John McEntire of Tortoise.
Pivot’s main strength is in their ability to temper their bombastic guitar sound with a studied mix of electronic textures and synth grooves. This allows them to escape the laborious dependence on precise time changes typical of so many math-rock bands while staying loud enough to keep out of ambient/snoozecore territory. O Soundtrack My Heart is full of such counterbalances. Lead-off single “In the Blood” relies on a melodic bass line to keep up the groove while twitchy guitars lead up to a gorgeous ambient synthesizer part. The title track begins with an outer-space keyboard buildup whose momentum is stolen by overdistorted guitar squeals.
As the title would suggest, much of this album sounds like the soundtrack to a modern dystopia. Opener “October” sounds like it took a few cues from Jonny Greenwood’s work for the film Bodysong. The spooky synths on closer “My Heart Like Marching Band” would fit in perfectly in any late-’80s horror flick. But there is a depth to this record that negates the connotation of “background music” that’s associated with film work. The aggressively funky drums and guitars counteract the daydreamy ambiance of the synths and make it obvious that this is music made to be played loud and listened to attentively.
Between them, the three members that make up Pivot have an impressive pedigree. They have recorded with Jan Jelinek, Damo Suzuki, and Scott Herren for his Prefuse 73 and Savath and Savalas projects. More than their previous efforts, this album exhibits the depth and experience that they have gained from such collaborations. It’s a promising sign of what they will be able to produce in the future with Warp’s considerable backing.