The reissue of Pylon's second album, Chomp, arrived like a thief in the night in October. Like the DFA-sanctioned reissue of its predecessor, Pylon's debut full-length Gyrate, the sound qualities have been greatly improved and some strange odds and ends have been tacked on as well.
Dubbed Chomp More, the reissued album benefits a good deal from the remaster treatment it received for this first-time CD appearance. The brighter cadences and darker nuances of opening number "K," along with "Yo-Yo," "Italian Movie," "Buzz" and the album's undisputed classic "Crazy" unfurl with the bounce, hazy disco, punk and funk angles that defined alternative rock when Chomp was initially released in 1983.
It's a natural instinct to blather on about the group's Athenian cohorts R.E.M. and the B-52's when trying to qualify what made Pylon such a revered part of Athens' musical heritage. But Pylon wielded a darker sexual, emotional and cerebral edge. The only thing they had in common with those other bands was time and place. It's more fitting to drop names like Pil, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Gang of Four and Wire if you're attempting to peg the group's post-punk and raw new wave aesthetics. But even those comparisons don't quite add up either. "No Clocks" and "Reptile" are rigid songs by design, underscoring the group's signature styles -- mechanical rhythms, sparse and chattering guitar lines and Vanessa Briscoe-Hay's growling mantras that all compliment each other with balanced precision. But there's a looseness to it all that swells within these songs, and an element of simplicity that taps into the higher functions of musical cognition.
Whereas Gyrate introduced the band with a rigid set of grid-like pop that was beautiful in it's precise execution, Chomp loosens the noose, leaving the group plenty of room to explore while keeping their songs within previously determined boundaries. Here drummer Curtis Crowe, bassist Michael Lachowski, guitarist Randy Bewley and vocalist Briscoe-Hay become tourists stopping to sink their teeth into the groundwork they laid with Gyrate three years before. Check out the dorky poses in front of mountains and national parks, the instant cameras and summery short shorts they're sporting all over the CD's liner notes. Chomp is a fun listen while remaining true to the concise elements of their songwriting, at least until track 12 when "Altitude" winds down where the original LP came to an end.
The final four numbers are the bonus materials, experiments and tape collages that don't offer much more than archival value. If you're happy with the record in its proper form, press stop after "Altitude."
Beyond that the original version of "Crazy" gives a rough take on the song, while the slowed down "Yo-Yo (Pylon Mix)" shifts the vocal pitch down to something nightmarish. At the time these things were recorded it was probably quit an accomplishment to achieve such an effect. Here it feels passe considering that kids can do this sort of thing with the click of a mouse. The Pylon Mix of "Gyrate" is pointless and cumbersome, but if you ride it out "Four Minutes" comes as a pay-off in form of slurred, jurrasic dub beats and tape textures rattling in a collage of Robotussin and reverb. These kinds of experiements are a far cry from the pop structures of the Pylon songs that discerning listeners know and love. But sometimes you can learn just as much about a band from their grand statements as you can from sifting through their trash and experiments that wound up on the cutting floor the first time around. Regardless, Chomp's strongest qualities are still the songs that made it Chomp in the first place.
Killin it. So damn sexy
ooooohhhh, I'm so excited!! I can't wait to see them together!
come on man you know you got a bromance. you probably still rock that OutKast…
Yes, 14 is the correct answer. I'll pass your info along to the group's manager,…