Pagoda's self-titled debut album gives roots rock, indie-pop,
and alternative folk a raw edge and unbridled rage akin to Nirvana,
Soul Asylum, 12 Stones, and Everlast. The New
York City based quartet, comprised of lead vocalist and guitarist
Michael Pitt, drummer Reece Carr, bassist Will Paredes
and celloist Chris Hoffman, takes rock music back to its alternative
grunge seedlings of the early and mid '90s. The album, which was produced
by Luca Amendolara and recorded in his studio in Milan, Italy,
offers some exotic mid-eastern accents and raspy vocals that rail
along the steady rolling blues rhythms and singular chord progressions
which jangle morosely across the melodic spreads.
The opening track "Lesson Learned" is a folksy rhapsody
with rock brewed undertones and a daze of vocal moans that segue into
the raw ledges of "Amego" filled with a lot of "Blah,
Blah, Blah" in the lyrics and instrument strides implementing
sharp impulsive stakes through the aural grind. The rusty vocal textures
cram and belt out instinctually cuffing the twists and contortions
in the instrument designs. The indie-pop psychedelics in the quasi-ballad
"Death To Birth" are reflective of Vive Voce and
Mates Of State, shingling melancholic vocal moans which share
the emotional plaintive of Sarah Assbring of El Perro Del
The calypso tinged beats in "Botus" are swathed in grunge-like
distortions and raspy vocal registers, while the mid-eastern flavoring
in the cello segments on "Sadartha" are meshed into the
exotic beats supporting the cringing vocal drones. Cello spurts
pierce the relaxing rhythm movements and intercept the droning guitar
dirges. "Fear Cloud" is a short clip of Afro-Indian beats
and vocal effects which move into the folksy, roots rock gauges
of "I Do" with guitar distortions darkened by somber tones,
howling echoes and vocal cackles in the background.
Pagoda's music is collected from the private thoughts of friends.
It is a way for them to vent out emotions in an open space where pretensions
and politeness are not needed, just a platform for pure, raw, raging
feelings to be let loose. The music uses a street wise sense rather
than fancy production tactics. Holding the melodies together are the
steady rolling bluesy swag of the rhythm motions and the raspy bravado
in the vocal gages. Pitt leads the band with a sage-like guidance
and viable intentions to be honest, so each member's parts can be
heard and no one is drowned out. It's music for friends made by friends.
1. Lesson Learned
5. Death To Birth
9. Fear Cloud
10. I Do
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