Mount Pressmore — Enjoy
(Pressmore PRCD1301, 2013, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2016-11-26
Enjoy is the debut album from this Austin, Texas group, and presents ten tracks of unique melodic music. Leader Thomas Shaw plays a Rhodes electric piano and sings, and his keyboard work is one of the band’s distinctive features. Not that it is flashy or technical — the main thing is that he almost never plays chords, instead favoring repeating patterns, counter-melodies, or rhythmic figures. Guitarist Tom Ray similarly avoids chords, at least in the typical strummed or barre-chord way. His parts echo and answer the keyboard parts, weaving in and out, rarely contributing more than one or two notes at a time. This interaction between the keys and guitars provides a lot of open space, which is often filled with lush vocal harmonies. Have a look at the video for “Trampoline” and check out the instrumental break at 2:45. An old prog-head is likely to think of Gentle Giant on Power and the Glory, though it seems likely that the similarity is not intentional. With a tightly coordinated rhythm section (Alex Sefchick on bass and Kris Studebaker on drums), the result is modern rock with an artsy twist, in the same general realm as Franz Ferdinand, Islands, Minus the Bear, Pattern Is Movement, and so on. Shaw has a warm voice with a slight bluesy edge that suits the music well, grounding it with human emotion in spite of the complexity of the arrangements swirling around. Enjoy is an album that works on multiple levels: it excels as an energetic, friendly rock album full of good melodies, and for those inclined to examine the details, a multitude of interesting tidbits are revealed, from evocative imagery in the lyrics to momentary diversions into unexpected keys to intricate polyphony. Any lover of complex and creative music should find a lot to like in these tracks.
Related artist(s): Mount Pressmore
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