Smooth Assailing

Pengo - Toadstools amongst the tombstones 12"

Damn, i decided to take a bit of a siesta on pengo after climbs the holy mountain, and now they've gone and cut an absolutely fantastic record. i'm waking up just in time, it seems. i loved the holy mountain's trans-love abattoir, though. great track. after that album i pretty much just "collected" their music whenever it would happen to pop up on slsk. i'd give them the quick once over, not find anything that particularly stuck out, shrug and run off to go listen to prurient. i never really got what was so popular about the band, but then again, i wasn't really putting forth interest in finding out. recently, i got the hair police and pengo collaboration, actually listened to it, and was impressed enough by that to give some undivided attention to this release.

this rochester, ny, trio (nuuj, jason finkbeiner and john schoen) have created a beautiful zen-like harmony with their organic psychedelia, electronic and noisier impulses. after the impossible happened would be the quintessential example. sputtering electronics, echoing chimes and barely there guitar strumming will gradually build culminating in a gorgeous track with memorability on every front. outstanding electronic work. the latter half of the track gets more into psychedelic things with an emphasis on the guitar. now, the electronics play out to be more of a noisy background layer. if pengo's got more shit like this in their (sizeable) discography, point me in the right direction, please!

moving on from there, pengo choose to get their hands a bit dirty with chaotic vocal noise and yelps during the onset of doboce. eventually, they'll settle down to a terrific little bit of guitar twang and drone. voices inside the circle seems like an entirely different band altogether as they focus more intently on synth usage. higher and lower frequency tones and buzzing static in the background layer. voices is significantly less dynamic than everything else on here, but taken in the full album context, serves change up the pace a bit. it also segues nicely into the superb the day it came crawling. there's a catchy electronic groove hidden in the back and they're just laying down some great free noise guitar freak outs. one eye looks north also pairs some hooky guitar playing with vocal noise and synthesized tones.

the closing piece, let's levitate the outhouse, lightens the mood considerably with some airy chords and the first appearance of percussion. as outhouse unfolds, the percussion gets fucked up to the point where everything's stuttering and off-beat and believe me, it's a very good thing. the track'll soon explode into a pleasantly noisy conclusion. couldn't have ended this on a better note.

the constants of something attention grabbing on nearly every track, whether it be by guitar or other instrumentation, electronic or not, make this a hell of a listen. additionally, pengo's seamless weaving of instrumentation and synthesized music gives you something else to marvel over when you listen to this. hugely recommended. they've made a believer out of me.

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