[8 July 2010]
PopMatters Associate Music Editor
With Arnold’s Park, Pterodactyl often pulls away from the harsh punk edge that has shaped so much of its work. There were hints of this move on its last record, Worldwide, which, while it had its share of sound experiments, was mostly built on blasting percussion and tense riffs. This new EP, though, manages to maintain Pterodactyl’s edgy feel while stretching its sound out into expansive soundscapes. Sometimes, it works really well, like when the band marries dessicated drum sounds with static-soaked guitar lines on the haunting “Welcome Home”, or on the lean percussion and grinding atmosphere of the title track. But there’s also a lot of stuff here that feels awkward. The pastoral haze of “Bite Into Blood” or the blippy eccentricities of “Ceremonies”—complete with falsetto harmonies—seem interesting at first, but don’t push much past what a lot of other bands are doing—read: Animal Collective—with a surer hand. In one way, Arnold’s Park is a brave step out on a limb for Pterodactyl. But in another way, it’s a little too uneven, and uncontrolled, to call this experiment a success.