The follow-up to their UK debut takes the clichéd notion of the ‘sonic cathedral’ and twists it like a Rubik’s Cube.
Church with No Magic 4/5 Rather than just having gone txt-spk mad, it seems that since we last heard from electronic trio Pivot, they have been confronted by another band with the same name and decided against a legal challenge. The follow-up to their UK debut takes the clichéd notion of the ‘sonic cathedral’ and twists it like a Rubik’s Cube. At once brilliantly ambitious and absurdly overblown, bravely genre-defying and a bonkers clash of conflicting styles, it’s conceived on a scale that makes the Great Pyramid of Giza look like a public lav in Chepstow. The record expands on the instrumental epics that first defined PVT by making Richard Pike’s vocals the focus of synth-heavy ‘pop’ songs, and looks to Gary Numan, Clark, Kraftwerk, Muse, Suicide, Arthur Russell and YMO for inspiration, while also trying on a bit of Gregorian chant for size. Given their adventurism, you can’t expect PVT to hit their target every time and ‘The Quick Mile’ is a ponderous amalgam of Colder and Sigur Rós. But ‘Timeless’ is a darkly gleaming, retrofuturist dream and ‘Crimson Swan’ suggests Arcade Fire battling Pendulum in a desecrated abbey. It might sound like the dullest place ever, but Church with No Magic has alchemy in spades.