Pentatonic — If You Don’t Understand Then I Can’t Explain to You
(Bandcamp 1724 010EP, 2009, CD / DL)
by Jon Davis, Published 2010-07-01
I had never heard of this band before I saw them play live, opening a show for Wang Wen, China’s best known post-rock band. The show was enjoyable, good enough to prompt me to buy the three-song CD they had available afterward. The first track, “You Built a House on My Back,” is a dreamy vocal number unlike anything I heard them do live. It starts very quietly with the filtered sound of acoustic guitar and voice, then fades into the floating melodic core of the tune, backed by ringing electric guitar and keyboards, then takes an unexpected turn into electronics, adding heavily treated drums and swirling, echoing sounds. For the climax, majestic brass sounds are added, in a really lovely arrangement. The second track is more like what I heard live, starting very quietly with keyboard washes and guitar melodies building slowly over the course of eight minutes to a thunderous peak. The final cut combines some of the elements of the first two, with a vocal part near the beginning, then a long build to the end, with piano taking a prominent role in the middle, then their standard two-guitar finish with a flowing synthesizer melody. As with many Chinese releases, getting hold of it isn’t easy, even in China, but the music deserves wider exposure.
Related artist(s): Pentatonic
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