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Pit er Pat - Shakey

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Artist: Pit er Pat

Album: Shakey

Label: Thrill Jockey

Review date: Mar. 14, 2005

Handmade merch! Get your handmade merch! Produced for you by Art Institute of Chicago alumni Pit er Pat. Thank you, Art Institute of Chicago, you cradle of whimsy. Pit er Pat makes its own merch. Limited edition, kids.

Pit er Pat gets more than its share of coverage in the Chicago Reader. That’s an alternative weekly. If your city’s got students and hipsters, your city’s probably got an alternative weekly, too. They’re all eerily similar. Most are funded by ads. When music venues buy ads, you get music coverage, designed to make the local scene look vibrant enough to draw patrons. The Reader actually charges a fee for access to its online archives. Not to say Chicago’s music scene ain’t vibrant, but I can’t imagine paying money to read puffery about Pit er Pat. Nevertheless, thanks largely to the praise it’s garnered in the Reader, a few overamped club goers can’t stop repeating the band’s name. (To be fair, it’s a funny name.)

Pit er Pat plays keyboard-heavy indie-prog, a bit like Tortoise without the jazzbo predilections. Two of them (a guy and a gal) also sing. Their lyrics sputter along these lines: “False face disappearing / False face cleansing ritual / Place currency under the mosses.” Creepy, eh? It’s hard to take them too seriously, though, as they sing like wee li’l ‘uns, and kids simply parrot what they hear from adults. When kids are creepy, they’re reflecting creepy surroundings; thus, all kids are creepy. They’ll grow out of it.

Pit er Pat’s music sounds complicated, but it isn’t. It takes the pothole-ridden backroads to a rather simple point. It’s like a Hallmark card rendered in legalese. Pit er Pat’s coy flirtations with baroque dance rhythms don’t change that. Sometimes, nibbling appetizers at a half-dozen different restaurants brings only nausea.

By Emerson Dameron

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