by Ashley Kolpak
Pattern is Movement is Andrew Thiboldeaux and Christopher Ward and the two-man indie rock outfit from Philadelphia is set to release their fifth album, a self-titled release, on April 1st.
The opening track, “River”, puts the album’s major themes on display within the first thirty seconds. A twinkling, energetic ping of what seriously sounds like a xylophone, driving drumbeat, and off-kilter, synthy piano are constants on this record. The album is very percussive; very much alive. Each track consists of a thoughtful, elaborate layering of instrumentation and vocals, creating a slightly chaotic, yet ultimately, very interesting listen.
On the whole, Pattern is Movement puts forth an effort that, at times, feels dissonant, but it works. Certain tracks, like “Rum”, possess a dreamy, yet upbeat sound. When the horn section swells in at the end of the song, it makes for a stark interruption in the flow, for just a second. Ultimately, these change-ups add a very quirky value to the songs on this record and keeps the listener on its toes.
“Little By Little” starts off with the trills of a flute, setting the tone. The strong drumbeat amidst the strange mish-mosh of sounds keep it balanced. The vocal style is breathy; it feels like the lyrics are submerged beneath the different sounds and tones. It’s busy. Like the majority of the record, the sound pushes forward in a sort of unexpected way. Rhythm instrument chimes mixed with cymbal crashes, paired with that driving drum beat is an exciting combination indeed.
One of the more peculiar elements of the album is an overlay of “auto-tuned” vocals, notably on the closer, “Wonderful”. Pattern is Movement’s use of it feels novel and they manage to steer very far away from T-Pain territory.
“Let’s Be Done” is a standout track. With its analog sound, it feels as if the listeners are present at a live gig, watching a forlorn lounge singer go through the emotions of heartache at a forgotten speakeasy. ”Let’s be done, done, done”….those lyrics, repeated, showcase another instance of overlapping of vocals and odd tones that come together to make a unique and creative statement.
At times, the record feels moody and maudlin, mostly due to the various slow horn interludes. Overall, it is a record that keeps the listener intrigued…playing with tone, tempo and instrumentation in a way that initially sounds discordant, but quickly becomes appealing.