Working from a place somewhere between raw emotion and meticulous construction, Philadelphia duo Pattern Is Movement deliver the ten songs that make up their dense, cerebral self-titled fourth album. Beginning in 2001 as a more angular, even mathy rock band, the duo of drummer Chris Ward and keyboardist/vocalist Andrew Thiboldeaux were originally joined by guitar-wielding bandmates, but around the time of 2008's All Together, the founding members stripped things down to just the two of them, drastically changing their sound in the process to a mesh of theatrical vocal harmonies, analog synth sounds, and dancey polyrhythmic drumming. Six years in the making, their self-titled follow-up continues along the same course, growing with some of the experience they gained during the numerous tours and performances that ensued between the last album and this one. The layered, narcotic singing styles of bands like Dirty Projectors and Grizzly Bear again make up much of the album's approach, with tunes like "Climb to Me" and "Rum" filled with sheets of Thiboldeaux's vocals floating over Ward's propulsive, often overdriven rhythms. "Little by Little" sports the same Auto-Tuned chorus of ghostly robot angels that appears on Bon Iver's second album and a shifting instrumentation that includes dreamy flute sounds giving way to bold horn sections and driving drums. The album is arranged so richly it sometimes seems impenetrable, but contrast comes in tunes like "Let's Be Done," which begins with a hissy sound of a cappella vocals that sound recorded in a bathroom on a hand-held cassette recorder before exploding into a symphonic pop arrangement on par with Disney's Fantasia. Pattern Is Movement display their visions of skewed pop in bold, vivid colors, with faint echoes of their mathy past buried but still audible through the walls of joyous noise.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Fred Thomas