Messenger – Pylon Reenactment Society (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

As the gap between Pylon and vocalist Vanessa Briscoe Hay’s Pylon inspired PRS gets wider, perhaps it is time to stop using that link as the jump-off point for anything that gets written about them. Of course Pylon were a highly influential band back in the day, treading the same boards as fellow Athens GA luminaries as R.E.M and The B-52’s but that was then and this is now. Whilst we are at it let’s dispense with the term post-punk for exactly the same reasons.

So the style is familiar, the vocals the expected blend of sweetness and raw edge and they sound a bit like a bunch of bands that coloured the younger days of us aficionados of slightly off-kilter pop, but apart from those few tenuous and lazy-journalistic connections, it’s all about moving forward, it’s just that unlike a lot of music being made today Messenger does so without resorting to studio gimmick or sonic glitter. New music made with old values? Why the hell not?

So try getting that bass line hook out of your head, dexterous yet hypnotically repetitive, and as the band layer on guitar detail, keyboard washes, infectious riffs, simple beats, the groove and the grace notes, you remember that it wasn’t so much the punks who kicked down the barricades at the end of the seventies that really made a difference to the musical landscape but those who poured through the gap behind them.

But as I said, this is no mere exercise in nostalgia, far from it, PRS give any modern indie or alt-rock band a run for their money and they do so by staying true to themselves rather than conforming to whatever fad or fashion bandwagon is being jumped on by lesser musical mortals. Messenger is the perfect blend of a nod to the past, a reminder that honesty, in music as much as anything else, is the best policy and perhaps the penning of a whole new musical chapter, one where people remember that whilst studio bands, producers and sampled musical building blocks may seem cool right now their shelf life is decidedly limited. Let’s get back to the real deal, let’s get back to bands like Pylon Reenactment Society! After all, there is a reason why after all this time we are still talking about this sort of music…well, quite a few actually!

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