REVIEW: Pianos Become The Teeth – ‘Keep You’

pianos become the teeth

Artist: Pianos Become The Teeth
Album: Keep You
Genre: Indie Rock
Label: Epitaph

The change felt on Keep You, the third full-length from Pianos Become The Teeth, was bound to happen. With the instant popularity of the draining end to The Lack Long After, listeners of the Baltimore area act were shown a new level of sonic illumination, something the band had always glimpsed at, but never fully realized until the end of their momentous work. With Keep You the band embraces the light at the end of the tunnel. Gone are the screams of anger and sorrow, for the album presents a level of investigation not needing of angst-filled vocal outbursts.

Take note: this album takes time. A mere month with the piece, and I still feel new things with every subsequent listen. Melodies consistently hit me at different times, previously passed over as mere structure, though as time progresses the piece exposes itself as something deeper with a long, lingering effect. Guitars weave in and out of each other, and the ever consistent drums contain the foundation of each track. The band still finds moments to explode, though with Keep You, these moments are consciously placed, creating the most vivid and rewarding sonic environment the band could inhabit.

Opening with “Ripple Water Shine,” the band’s newly acquired approach is felt immediately. Singer Kyle Durfey is at his best, as he weaves through the heavily National-inspired musicianship laid before him. Still attesting to the band’s dynamics seen before, as mentioned earlier, with Keep You every outburst or upstream in sound dynamic is just where it needs to be. After hearing the opening many times over the past few weeks, I would argue that “Ripple Water Shine” alone can go against many of the band’s famed heavier tracks for thematic heaviness. With a touch of hopefulness shrouded by reverb and echo, Keep You begins wonderfully.

“April” is a slow and brooding track that will certainly remind fans of the band’s past catalog, but with Pianos’ newly claimed sense of balance, “April” ends up hitting much harder than much of The Lack Long After. Followed by “Lesions,” which finds itself as a personal favorite from the piece, “Lesions” is as close to pop as the band will get, and it’s glorious. Bright, hopeful, moving, and at times cathartic, “Lesions” poses as some of the best Keep You has to offer.

The previously released “Repine” and “Late Lives” resonate as strongly as they have before, with “Late Lives” ending up being another high-point for the work. “Enamor Me” contains some of the album’s most interesting guitar work, and as we work our way through the rest of the piece, the band’s musicanship certainly demands respect. The drums on “Traces” illuminate the track, and “The Queen” gives the album a much needed slowdown in pace and dynamic. Ending with the widely atmospheric “Say Nothing,” Keep You ends just as beautifully as it began.

It is hard to describe how this album specifically moves me as a listener, for each new adventure with it exposes new and deeper appreciations for it. With a new favorite track each day, Keep You presents itself as a widely versatile work. From my first time listening to it through a walk in the woods behind my house, to it acting as a guided soundtrack through downtown Boston at night, the album has a knack for showing its worth for any moment in existence. I recommend caution in first listens, for this album deserves much more of your time than a few streams. Please, give it time; what it may be for you is well worth the wait.

SCORE: 9/10
Review written by Drew Caruso — Follow him on Twitter.

Drew Caruso

Drew Caruso is a Bostonian who, when not writing about music and film, spends his time getting lost in New England, reading books, talking about science whether people want to listen or not, and more. To see the thoughts of a scientist by day and a writer by night, follow him on Twitter.
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