January 24, 2008

Pink Reason – By a Thread

Filed under: Hype,Music — ed the portal @ 6:47 pm

[Trickknee Productions; 2007]

A whole lot of bands put out a ton of great music in 2007. One of those bands was the psychedelic/lo-fi/folk/one-man powerhouse Pink Reason. Early on in the year, Pink Reason presented us with his debut LP Cleaning the Mirror. After the first couple listens, I basically wrote it off as a good, but not great, collection of bleak, slowly-paced tunes. However, several months later I came back to the album, quickly fell in love with each and every song, and it shot up towards the top of my end of the year albums list. The reason for this awakening came with the release of the 7” EP By a Thread. I was addicted to this EP for almost two months. I honestly listened to it at least three or four times a day for weeks on end. Unlike Cleaning the Mirror, By a Thread hit and floored me immediately.

The titular opening track is driven by simple, pounding drum beat and a distorted electric guitar constantly fills the background behind the beat and vocals. The chorus of “You keep me hanging/Hanging by a thread” is repetitively droned over a faster drum beat, and each time through you can feel it lodging itself firmly into your memory. It’s almost unbearably catchy and if the next two songs weren’t just as good, you’d probably just leave this track on repeat all day long.

“The Devil Always Wins” is a short little burst of lyrical brilliance accompanied only by the sound of a few feet stomping on the floor and some sparse handclaps. I wish I could pick a line to quote here, but every damn line is great. The lack of any instrumentation really makes this song. Anything more than the man-made percussion would distract from the lyrics of the song and take away from the feeling that Pink Reason is preaching his message of dismay from some shabby pulpit in a dilapidated church while we all smirk and nod along knowingly.

The final track “Down on Me,” focuses more on the instrumentation. While again we’re treated to a few painfully catchy verses, the second half of the song finishes off the album with an intoxicating duel guitar solo. One guitar starts screeching right away while the other holds on to some of the rhythm held by the drum beat. However, the second guitar eventually joins in distorted, high-pitched wailing before jumping back into the song’s opening sequence and grinding to a halt. Of the three songs on the EP, this is the song most likely to make you want to dance, or at least rock back and forth a bit in your chair, but the lyrics maintain the downtrodden feeling that pervades Pink Reason’s music.

But why did these three songs hit me so hard and so fast compared to those on Cleaning the Mirror? I’m not entirely sure, but I think it has a lot to do with the more upbeat/faster pace. The songs are much slower and combined with the bleakly sung lyrics make for a really depressing album. This certainly isn’t a bad thing, but it does make the album a little harder to swallow. The combination of a quicker pace and vocals that seem a little higher in the mix make By a Thread a much more accessible and immediate listen and also made me appreciate the contrast of Cleaning the Mirror much more. It’s rumored that Pink Reason has a double album in the works, and it will be interesting and exciting to see where he takes his music from here.

Listen to Pink Reason songs on myspace

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