PVT

Church with No Magic

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AllMusic Review by

Church with No Magic reveals that in the two years between this album and O Soundtrack My Heart, PVT went through some significant changes. The most obvious is the alteration of the band’s name (thanks to a legal scuffle with a U.S. band also called Pivot), but the addition of Richard Pike's vocals to PVT’s mix of post-rock, electronica, and prog is almost as immediate. For the most part, it’s a change for the better, adding focus to the band’s overflowing sounds and ideas. Pike’s singing balances “Light Up Bright Fires”’ tension between icy electronics and explosive live drums, his harmonies suggesting flames shooting high into the sky; he snarls and whispers on the bleak, incantatory title track, which suggests an unholy union of Suicide and The The; and his baritone grounds the decaying industrial beauty of “Crimson Swan” in post-punk brooding. Despite all the changes, PVT remain committed to their experimental roots. Even on “Window,” arguably Church with No Magic's most accessible track, the band can’t help but throw in subtle tempo shifts that subvert the song’s brisk pace. Elsewhere, “Community” and “Waves and Radiation”'s rippling analog synths show that they love Jean Michel Jarre and Vangelis as much as they did on their earlier albums. PVT’s prog leanings come to the fore on “The Quick Mile,” a showcase for drummer Laurenz Pike's formidable skills and a reminder that despite all their muscle, this band is first and foremost cerebral. At times they can be too aloof, as on the surprisingly distant “Circle of Friends,” though they use this remoteness well on “Timeless”' sci-fi romance. Despite their changes, PVT remain as hard to pin down as ever, and Church with No Magic is admirable, if not exactly embraceable.

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