Tech reviews

Pedaljets: Twist The Lens – album review




Electric Moth Records

LP / CD / DL

From February 14, 2020

Kansas rockers Pedaljets come back with what is perhaps their best album so far.

On their new record, the Kansas pedaljets fire on all cylinders and attract a more varied range of styles than they had before. They start things with lead single, Disassociation Blues, an almost Interpol-like rocker who is dragged about pounding, thundering drum beats. The vocals long for the top before they get up at the end of the verses to shoot with more urgency. The harmonies are just behind the crank guitars, sliding underneath to add to the overall sound of a band that, again, really hit the ground. On Twist The Lens, the moments that really stand out are the moments when the band takes a turn to the left of the pulsating rock to bring something totally nostalgic.

Songs such as Placid City Girl, which is released early in the album, recall the sounds of The Jacobites mixed with the crawling melodies of the early REM. It is a hue on the album that really stands out and makes the difference when it is sandwiched between the rocker songs. The band still draws from their early contemporaries such as The Replacements on songs like Uncounted Heads and Loved A Stone, filtered by their new palette, but again, it is those who step out of this zone that really attract attention. Transfer Is Done recalls Grandaddy’s Crystal Lake with subtle pleated guitar notes that come from the hanging rhythm. On This Is Sepsis they really put the drama on a dark cramp. Although it is a good song, it feels a bit like an outsider on the album as a whole, but the band soon falls back on the right track with One Away.

The title track, which leads the last quarter of the album, is one of the highlights. The guitars stick out and spit out to create a groove reminiscent of earlier Arcade Fire when they themselves used the whimsical post-punk rhythms of bands like Pedaljets. The penultimate song, What Only Cats Chase, an acoustic song influenced by Beatles, would have brought the perfect album closer. It is brittle and wailing. An added string section creates the swirling lower abdomen that pulls you in more and more. Instead of closing the album, the band would rather bring the rock back with The Fader. A great song, but it overshadows the previous song and gives you the feeling that the album is rising again just before it ends. A small twist on the order would have made the difference for what would ultimately be a fantastic return for the band.

Watch the video for Disassociation Blues below:

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All words by Nathan Whittle. Find his Louder Than War archive here.


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