My initial introduction to Pivot was an accident of sorts. Sandwiched in the middle of a show that consisted of Wild Beasts, Team Robespierre and Beach House, they were the pleasant surprise in an evening of already amazing music. The London-by-way-of-Australia based outfit has yet to make their splash here Stateside, but they've been garnering a lot of attention in that other hemisphere playing supporting slots for Sigur Ros in Australia and luminaries Yellow Magic Orchestra and Massive Attack in London. Based on the subtle expounding beauty of their Warp debut, O Soundtrack My Heart, it's easy to see why.
Trying ever so carefully to tread the line between electronic and traditional instrumentation, the easiest comparison would have to be their label mates in Battles. In fact, the 5th track "Sing, You Sinners" might be cutting the comparison a bit too close for comfort with guitar tapping laid over a very familiar bouncing rhythm (not to mention that while performing live the drummer sets his crash cymbal dangerously similar to that of John Stanier). But I won't hold them accountable for being one of only a handful of bands who can respectfully be put in the same class as the aforementioned, and Pivot do have a noticeable European dramatic edge. With beats that make you think new wave before hip-hop, Pivot display a knack for putting an elegant twist on the pounding rhythm motif. Vocals are non-existent save for a few airy drones that also lend to the overall creepy-yet-uplifting quality, with string arrangements and densely complex electronic blips and bleeps softly woven into the mix.
These subtleties evoke a more ethereal response from the listener. Similar to a Prefuse 73, you can enjoy it blasting from the house speakers, though you'll need to don a pair of headsets to fully appreciate everything going on. But rest assured this is no exercise in technique demonstration. While there are a few moments where you can get lost in the density of instrumentation work out, the beauty lies in their ability to keep things simple enough to always have a pocket to groove in. Softer songs like "Love Like I" and "Fool In Rain" are allowed to breathe in this technique, whereas in my humble opinion, O Soundtrack gathers momentum and nears climax with harder driving songs like "Didn't I Furious" (my personal favorite) and "Nothing Hurts Machine", which show Pivots range beyond airy aesthetics. They are, after all, a rock band, and they make sure you don't forget that.
Regardless of the overall impression that is left after listening to O Soundtrack My Heart, I promise that you will walk away with at least one favorite song and a band you will want to see live.
Video for "In The Blood"