Pyramids with Nadja: Pyramids with Nadja

[28 June 2010]

By Ian Mathers

The worst thing about Pyramids with Nadja’s album Pyramids with Nadja is that name. Not only it slightly misleading (yes, all the members of both bands play on the four tracks here, but so do a number of other musicians), but it’s clunky as hell. Worse, it’s going to make at least some listeners skip over this album all by itself, because it makes Pyramids with Nadja sound less like an album and more like a couple of bands goofing off or feeling each other out. And for an album with such evocative song titles (de rigeur in post-rock, admittedly), it’s a dull non-starter—they couldn’t have named the album Into the Silent Waves or An Angel Was Heard to Cry Over the City of Rome?—not to mention hard to explain to others:

“Hey man, what are you listening to these days?”

“Well, it’s, uh, this self titled album by Pyramids and Nadja and a bunch of other guys, but it’s just called Pyramids with Nadja, but it’s actually this incredible, coherent hour of music that isn’t just the best collaborative sort-of post-rock album since MONO & world’s end girlfriend’s quite frankly still-astonishing Palmless Prayer/Mass Murder Refrain, it’s the best record in the genre since then period, and sometimes it sounds a bit like the Deftones’ recent work slowed way down and made even dreamier (especially when Mineral’s Chris Simpson is singing), and on one track I think they stole that guy in a coffin from the end of Sunn O)))‘s Black One and waited until he calmed down a bit before taping him, and while the album doesn’t have an orchestra like PP/MMR did, it’s similar in that Pyramids with Nadja [See, it’s so awkward! - Ed.] don’t beat you about the head with catharsis all the way through, but save their really big explosive moment for the end, so you’ve got about 50 minutes of seething shoegaze/doom-y drift and surge (and, uh, a kind of sleazy piano ballad at one point) before that, and unlike a lot of lengthy albums with lengthy songs, this one really moves, and it’s focused enough that the four songs are really more like four movements, except they also work on their own and none of them succumb to that problem long, vaguely post-rock bands have where you’re waiting for the ‘good bit’ to kick in, and then the track track does peak with a kind of Isis-esque crescendo and it’s really amazing.”

So when you get right down to it, the worst thing about the worst thing about Pyramids with Nadja’s Pyramids With Nadja is that it makes it less likely that these guys are going to follow this album up with another one.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/125977-pyramids-with-nadja-pyramids-with-nadja/