Album Review :: Pikelet – ‘Calluses’
August 15th 2013
In musical circles, Calluses are not just hardened areas of skin, they’re badges of honour, proof that you’ve put in the hard yards.
Case in point: Pikelet frontwoman Evelyn Morris. With her multi-instrumental skills, three albums under the belt, and session gigs as a drummer with international acts, Calluses is an apt title for her band Pikelet’s third album.
As a solo artist, Melbourne act Pikelet won us over with an accordion, a loop pedal and a plethora of other instruments, that created mini-symphonies too large for their singular source. Six years on, Pikelet is a four-piece utilising electronic experimentation able to achieve the sizeable sound its founder’s unique artistic vision deserves.
The time Morris and synth-man Shags Chamberlain spent as the backing band for Ariel Pink has rubbed off.
With two drummers on board, the percussion is at times military, tribal and even orchestral, while the bass is infused to add a newfound dimension to every track.
In the single ‘Combo’, a steady throbbing bassline introduces layer upon layer of vocals, synth and percussion, culminating in a triumphant crescendo. All the while, the bass remains practically unchanged from the first bar as we are reminded of the fickle nature of music: it’s just “combinations of sounds, combinations of sounds… ”
Tracks like ‘Pressure Cooker’ combine expansive vocals with dense layers of percussion and synth that pay ode to the looping on which the bands sound was founded.
The electronic mimicry of accordion in ‘Electric Gate’ and ‘Festivas’ stand as reminders of where the band started, as do Morris’ unencumbered vocals.
Her voice is distorted, looped and layered, acting as an instrument that strikes the ear at every emotional angle possible.
Calluses turns Pikelet’s folky sound on its head and flings it into the experimental future, all the while managing to retain the quirks of its original vision.
Calluses is out August 16 | FBi’s album of the week: 9.8.13 – 16.8.13
What: Pikelet Album Launch
Where: GoodGod Small Club
When: Friday 13th September 8pm
How much: $15 here