Done right, an overblown, operatic voice in punk rock can be a mark of distinction. Tilt, the Dead Kennedys, Misfits, Fleshies all have or had folks who could belt it out. Unfortunately, that’s the main hurdle I have with Pirx the Pilot. The main singer, Ernst (who also runs New Disorder Records and is a really nice guy) is so high up in the mix, sounds like a less nasal Fred Schneider of the B-52’s, and the instruments almost always watershed around his vocals. Regrettably, his voice – the instrument that most often dominates the music – is my least favorite part of the band. If Erica took the mic more, or they did more change offs, like in “Patriotism” and “Cloud Factory,” the equation might change a little bit. The music, sans male vocals, reminds me of early ‘90s college rock like Love and Rockets with dashes of the Pixies, and scrapes of late period Bauhaus (they’re arty and a little doomy, and have a fixation on Fozzie the Bear dolls) but more straightforward punk, which is nice. So, it’s personal taste, which all hinges on liking a type of voice. Comes with two home-made videos, which is admirable.
–todd (New Disorder)