This Pillar Point article was written by Mark Steele, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Fraisia Dunn.
Pillar Point, also known as Seattle-based Scott Reithermann, has crafted his second full-length album, made up of nine tracks of seriously compelling compositions. Following crowd response to concerts after the release of the debut album, Reithermann has formulated the sonic ethos to take Pillar Point forward.
The production collective assembled includes songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Kevin Barnes (Of Montreal/Elephant 6 Collective) who requested the presence of Reithermann to record in his home studio in Athens, GA. Barnes was a fountainhead of ideas, enhancing each work. Drummer Cameron Gardener (Washed Out) initiated the drum tracks and beat meister Philip Mayer (Kishi Bashi) has supplied surprise touches using a diverse inventory of instruments, such as a donkey jaw bone with loosened teeth. Mixing has been undertaken by Drew Vandenberg (Toro y Moi/Deerhunter/Of Montreal).
Immediately upon listening to ‘Marble Mouth’, first track ‘Part Time Love’ binds a gentle paced interlocked bass/synth groove comparable to Daft Punk with catchy dark Depeche Mode-like coloured hooks. For those of us who managed to catch the Tron film sequel, the audio quality on this may relate to the sound on this opening track. Second in line is ‘Black Fly on a White Wall’ which joyfully thrusts chimed looped funky licks in with Reithermann’s automaton monotone vocals. Coasting around this track is a wind instrument sounding like a buzzing bee with a nasal blockage.
An uncanny likeness to singer/songwriter Gerry Rafferty surfaces in Reithermann’s vocal style on the genre blending ‘Strange Brush’. This effortlessly mixes progressive rock fuzzy riffs and bewitching honky-tonk piano fills, coated within in a 1970’s Boney M type disco groove. Reithermann’s lyrics in the chorus, “Strange Brush paints me in ways that feel strange/cold touch colours that look so deranged” is an apt reflection on the varied sounds on the recording but could have well been referencing his cultural experiences in Georgia and New Orleans. With fluid vocals, ‘Dove’ is nearer deep house territory featuring cosmic oceanic synth arpeggios that has a club friendly attraction.
‘Lafayette’ enjoys a retro-futuristic funk feel, made more compelling by the eerie female backing vocals. A short weather forecast intro leads into the uplifting ‘Gloomsday’ which could brighten any blue Monday and is possibly Reithermann’s rainy day memories of Seattle. There is a familiar quirky sensibility about ‘Playtime’ with some Gary Numanisms; it as though there has been a further funkification made by Bootsy Collins with the late David Bowie’s melody lines over the top. The glitch-bop meets electro-soul on ‘Underground’ is guaranteed to make you move on the dancefloor.
The final number ‘Dance like You Want to Die’ shows elements of ‘The Beatles meets Air’ as it moves slowly in a psychedelic swirl.
There are references to artists old and new here, many from the 1980’s and recent ones such as LCD Soundsystem and Hot Chip. However, ‘Marble Mouth’ embeds true ingenuity from start to finish, and demands a responsive appreciation.
Pillar Point ‘Marble Mouth’ is out now via Polyvinyl Records.
Want the latest music news, opinions and reviews?Subscribe to the GIGsoup newsletter today
Explore the latest music from the comfort of your own inbox