Exposé Online banner

Paynbird — Eschatosophia
(Illusion PBIR3, 2013, CD)

by Paul Hightower, Published 2014-05-23

Eschatosophia Cover artEschatosophia is Paynbird’s second offering following 2005’s The Street of Seven Stars. The trio from Bergen, Norway, has created an ambitious album that encompasses an eclectic — if somewhat schizophrenic — range of styles and sounds. On the one hand are songs like “Shiny Colors and Beauty Queens” that sound like lost outtakes from a 1966 Byrds session, while on the other extreme is the “Perago-Metus-Atonement-Pavor Nocturnus” suite that juxtaposes grunge with Gothic soundscapes and choral meditations. I guess the easiest label to use would be acid-folk, but there’s a lot more going on in these 18 tracks that also includes smoky, coffeehouse confessionals (“Pearls of Water”) and redemptive folk rock (“Oblivion of Time”). The trio of Erik Olaus, Markus Scholz, and Kjersti Olsen champion a stripped down sound dominated by vocals and guitar, pushed along by a small kit backbeat, though they’re not adverse to layering on piano, percussion, or processed strings when it can help give the tracks a sonic boost. Guest violin from Eli Hydle is judiciously added for extra sweetening, but for the most part this is an outfit confident in their abilities as songwriters and performers. As a concept album the subtext is somewhat murky, though the dreamy and introspective vibe underlying many of the songs hints at larger themes at play. As a marriage of style and substance this collection works on both fronts, even if the references are somewhat obvious. It also works as an artistic statement, even if several listens are needed to dig it.

Filed under: New releases, 2013 releases

Related artist(s): Paynbird

Latest news

2018-02-18
Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more

2018-02-15
10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more

2018-02-14
Tom Rapp RIP – Singer / songwriter Tom Rapp, best known with the band Pearls Before Swine, passed away on February 12, at the age of 70, after a battle with cancer. » Read more

2018-01-30
Bill Bruford Ventures into Uncharted Territory – Drum master Bill Bruford, veteran of some of the most creative bands in history (King Crimson, Yes, Genese, etc.), is sharing some of what he's learned about being a drummer and a musician in his new book, Uncharted: Creativity and the Expert Drummer, out on University of Michigan Press. » Read more

2018-01-18
Christian Burchard RIP – Multi-instrumentalist Christian Burchard, who founded the seminal band Embryo in 1969, has died at the age of 71. His January 17 passing was announced on the band's Facebook page. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Michael Zentner - Present Time – Formerly of the Muffins, Michael Zentner and his solo release drifted into obscurity over ten years ago, from which they have just been rescued. The lineup on this album differs from track to track,...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues