People Get Ready

Physiques

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In a city overpopulated with hyper-artistic denizens, Brooklyn's People Get Ready have extended themselves beyond mere indie rock bandom, embedding dance, visual art, and other performance-based elements squarely into their aesthetic. Frontman Steve Reker, who has collaborated with David Byrne (among others) as a dancer and guitarist, is as concerned with physical movement as he is with the challenging, avant-pop guitar runs that populate his band's second album, Physiques. Along with fellow Arizona native Jen Goma on keys and vocals, bassist James Rickman, and drummer Ian Chang, Reker seeks to convey this sense of movement on record through ten strange, jagged, and smartly technical pop songs. Produced by Deerhoof drummer Greg Saunier at downtown Manhattan's legendary (and now-defunct) Clocktower Gallery, Physiques takes a far less straightforward route than the band's self-titled 2010 debut, which offered a more densely layered and accessible brand of indie pop. The lead single and title track strikes a fine balance between melodic warmth and a clever arrangement which stutters and pops with percussive artistry and some impressive guitar leads courtesy of Reker. These inventive and well-placed riffs highlight many of the songs on Physiques as they mingle with the charming Casio keyboard parts on burbling romps like "Jealousy" and "Hot Fruit." Comparisons to fellow Brooklyn art-poppers Dirty Projectors are not out of line, especially on the opening cut "Rainbow," which sports a similar mix of odd snaky parts and rhythmic falsetto vocal sections cut with intermittent, ferocious stabs. Reker's fascination with movement does manage to inform the album's unique flow, which becomes more accessible and interesting with each listen. At first blush, it would be easy to congratulate the album's technical intricacies while failing to get it, but it's worth digging deeper to fully embrace its unique appeal.

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