Album Reviews

Pterodactyl – Spills Out

on November 25, 2011, 7:59am
Pterodactyl-Spills-Out B
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Science tells us that the Pterodactyl was a flying, beaked dinosaur. In other words, some freakish looking creature with wings, which could be mistaken for anything from a bat with Psoriasis to an iguana in a Toucan Sam costume. It most likely squawked. For a band as tremendously eclectic as this Brooklyn via Ohio pysch-folk-pop three-piece, the name of a winged dinosaur is as fitting as anything I could ever dream up. Though an iguana in a Toucan Sam costume also works.

Pterodactyl is an enigmatic Brooklyn via Ohio three-piece, but that’s about all I’ve been able to gather. Their website looks like this.  It has a picture of cute puppies playing that clicks through to a definition of cannibalism. Make what you will.

Their record, Spills Out, is a triumphant display of map-spanning psychedelic folk-pop. It’s part Dodos polyrhythmic math-folk, part Liars drone-punk, part Sun City Girls no-wave psych, part Akron/Family tribal jam, some Beatles harmonies, even a little tube-amp-heated Walkmen, and yes a lot of Beach Boys by way of the Animal Collective (oh, hey Yeasayer).

But the thing that’s great about Pterodactyl, is that they meld all these occasionally arduous, artful influences into something that is actually genuinely FUN to listen to while also maintaining a level of enticing difficulty without sounding contrived or stupid. The music is rooted in experimental avant-pop, with textures, harmonies, and death chants abound, but never fails to flirt pretty heavily with straight-up pop, which makes for a pleasurable listen.

Take a song like “Zombies”, a harmony fueled, droney, dark post-rock-pop track, with lead singer Joe Kramer wailing away like a nasely-er version of the Walkmen’s Hamilton Leithauser in between flickering electric guitar, pounding toms, washed out crash cymbals, unidentifiable squeals, and sunny harmony hiccups. There’s just so much packed in there, it’s hard to know where to start. It’s tribal Mercury Rev on a fuzzed-out ’60s classic-rock kick. Pterodactyl’s sound most figuratively Spills Out. Drink up and enjoy.

Essential Tracks: “The Break”, “Allergy Shots”, and “Aphasia”

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Sgearha1
November 25, 2011 at 10:52 pm

Mr. Litowitz, I appreciated your review but was offended by your psoriasis comment.  Please know that the social stigma that 7.5 million Americans with psoriasis feel is perpetuated by comments like yours.  To educate you and others… please know that psoriasis is a chronic, autoimmune disease that appears on the skin. It
occurs when the immune system sends out faulty signals that speed up the
growth cycle of skin cells. Psoriasis is not contagious. It is much more than a skin rash and is linked to co-morbidities including psoriatic arthritis, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other auto immune diseases such as Crohn’s disease. People with the disease include golfer Phil Mickelson, singer Leann Rimes, comedian Jon Lovitz and celubutante Kim Kardashian. Emotionally the disease can be very tough on those afflicted. Young people with psoriasis report being bullied and report suicidal thoughts at an alarmingly high rate. Adults report being kicked off airplanes and being sent away from gyms, public pools and nail salons. It is difficult to have a disease that manifests itself so openly on the skin. Those of us involved with the National Psoriasis Foundation continually try to raise awareness about this disease .  Believe me, chances are you know someone with psoriasis who is suffering in silence and covering up their skin. For more information on psoriasis visit http://www.psoriasis.org   That will link you to the National Psoriasis Foundation…the largest educational, advocacy and support group for those with psoriasis. Thanks!