Pterodactyl Pterodactyl

[Brah; 2007]

Styles: indie rock, noise rock, experimental rock
Others: Parts & Labor, Oneida, Hella

Unhinged, deranged, tweaked. All these adjectives work well as an initial attempt to impart a sense of what Pterodactyl's music is all about. As assured a debut as I've heard in a while, Pterodactyl come out with their rock phazers set to 'fuck yeah' and don't let up until they've molested all minds within earshot.

Controlled cacophony -- another apt descriptor. Pterodactyl continually teeter on the brink of explosion or meltdown, but it's all a clever ruse. These guys have things so under control they don't worry about letting things get out of hand. Joe Kremer and Kurt Beals have voices that can go from muppet-esque (more Gonzo than Kermit) to sugary sweet at the drop of a hat. In fact, that very maneuver happens not three minutes into the album, where a crazed falsetto lead vocal near the end of "Polio" gives way to a tight, lovely wordless harmony. These contrasting moments are peppered throughout the album and give Pterodactyl a rich texture that reveals more upon repeated listens.

Holding this racket together are the incredible drumming feats of Matt Marlin, the soul of the band. Emphasizing this, the production itself gives the drums a great, big, roomy sound that makes Pterodactyl seem all-powerful and awe-inspiring. Whether it be the restrained tempo of "Three Succeed" or the speed demonry of... well, most everything else... Marlin's percussive gymnastics provide both the glue and the most volatile element of each track. It makes this album an exhausting ride, but one well worth taking.

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