Crossing the Road Before the Sky Falls In

Beak
PMT
U.K. THE SLIGHTLY OFF KILTER LABEL SOK 067 C.D. (2020)

Surprisingly, it’s been over eight years since PMT’s well-received (and vowel-depleted) Thfckwt cdr e.p. snuck out and now, those prodigal sons of neo-slackerism have returned… from who knows where, who knows what and who knows which. apologies, that closing descent into near gibberish can only occur when I’m faced with a band who, when asked to spill all, or some of their beans, tick the ‘prefer not to say’ box instead. What little information that can be found trickling down from this almost google-free venture comes from the accompanying booklet to this, the newly expanded/remastered/vitamin-enriched “Luxe” edition of Beak. The nine original tracks and exclusive additionals are now combined into four untitled pieces. It comes housed in a seven-inch sleeve, proudly emblazoned with a striking chicken’s head portrait, that’s oddly reminiscent of a mid-sixties ‘Ladybird’ children’s book illustration. But that’s where that comparison falters a little, as the cover star’s glazed eye is heavily ringed by some crude and psychotically scratchy penmanship; bringing to mind a certain line about “…hypnotizing chickens…” found on the title track of the Igster’s Lust for Life album. A cruel party trick, , apparently (?) achieved by drawing a chalk circle around said bird’s eye-line, which could then imprison him for all of his short chicken life.

Wrapped up in all this strange avian-related activity (and what’s this thing with curlews as well? – see booklet), we find Paul (gtr/vox/synth), Marc (bass/keys) and Tony (drums/gtr) allowing themselves the luxury of far roomier accommodation in which the three-piece can really stretch out and flex those extended jamming muscles to their heart’s content. And on these four now nameless sections, they do just that. Their sound is one that harks back to seventies psyche/prog outfits like Vertigo’s Clear Blue Sky and Electrola’s Janus, while at the same time, seeming to reference the motorik drive of Neu! and La Düsseldorf. As Ed’s Thfckwt reviews pointed out, PMT’s outage was fx free, now of course, I like a good fuzz/wah as much as the next man, but I do respect a band that still sticks to its guns and plays it ‘clean’.

Another dip into that booklet sees our heroes stating “We don’t know what we’re doing…” to which I can only disagree in the strongest terms possible. That ‘doubting Thomas’ routine needs to be nixed pronto. Now, take a walk to that chalk circle and repeat after me…”Beak is g-o-o-d, v-e-r-y g-o-o-d”…..

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