PVT have evolved their sound considerably with each album. Homosapien is no different. Where 2010’s Church With No Magic saw the Australian three-piece forsake the angular, rhythm-centric instrumentalism of 2008’s O Soundtrack My Heart for moodier, texture-driven pieces, Homosapien sees the band ditching the abstraction and darkness of their previous album in favour of writing fully fledged pop songs.
Lead single Nightfall is a nice primer for interested parties but, in increasingly classic PVT fashion, something of a misdirect. The spiralling synths, hovering vocals and conventional song structures prove typical of the album. Laurence Pike’s thunderous percussive performance is largely anomalous. As is that pervasive sense of dread that lingers over the track’s instrumental components.
As its title suggests, Homosapien is a romantic album. It’s built on minimal instrumentation and expressive, lyrical performances. Love & Defeat, Electric, Nightfall, Vertigo; all swooning, soaring songs bursting with romantic imagery. Throughout, PVT are a portrait of restraint; minor details lending colour to Pike’s hypnotic vocals with remarkable precision. A choral refrain in Electric. A warped vocal loop in New Morning. Just enough to tint the landscape of each production.
For many, the album may prove too accessible. There are multiple moments where proceedings come perilously close to the embarrassing aspects of ‘80s revivalism. Yet, their well-documented experimental streak keeps the band grounded. There is simply too much weirdness floating around Homosapien for it to actually be regressive. It will probably take longer to grow on a listener than any of the band’s previous albums. However, it’s almost certainly their best.
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