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Pivot - O Soundtrack My Heart

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Artist: Pivot

Album: O Soundtrack My Heart

Label: Warp

Review date: Nov. 4, 2008

Pivot have decided to reinvent themselves by dissecting themselves, which goes a long way toward explaining what they’re doing on Warp Records all of a sudden. That which makes O Soundtrack My Heart churn and shimmer was already present on their 2005 debut, Make Me Love You, but in quantities that seem innocuous in retrospect. Make Me Love You is a post-rock album, and a very good one at that, played with dexterity and a certain deadpan cheekiness but still meditative and warm. O Soundtrack My Heart is cavernous and scary, cold to the touch, broken-stuff funk for killer robots who find humanity “vestigial.”

On chops alone, you could call Pivot Australia’s answer to Trans Am (insofar as Trans Am is a question that needs answering): O Soundtrack finds the trio newly preoccupied with the intersection of frat-boy rock riffage and heady mechanical undercurrent, and to an extent with pulling the song out from under you unannounced (see “Sweet Memory,” which disintegrates from bittersweet love jam into electro-military anthem). The ghost of Kraftwerk makes a few mid-album cameos, too, riding the staccato skeleton of “Sing, You Sinners” and the pulse of “Fool In Rain,” making the latter sublimely, methodically spooky. For Pivot, though, it’s not the smirk that counts, at least not in the mission-statement kind of way. They get theirs whether or not you feel fucked with.

More importantly, their game is less frustrating. Not because they have much that’s new to offer, technically or philosophically – although that weeping synth-violin could easily become a trademark – but because they don’t sweat the pedigree. Some of O Soundtrack is epic rock (lead single “In the Blood,” with accompanying creepy video, and the steadfast title track); some of it middling electro-pastiche; a little of it needless experiment. What ultimately unites it all is nothing deliberate, nothing self-pigeonholing, just a mood of chilly foreboding as convincing as it is unexpected. Bet you didn’t know Halloween-rock existed. And that’s exactly what’s worth appreciating here.

By Daniel Levin Becker

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