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Album Review
Scrying In Infirmary Architecture

Scrying In Infirmary Architecture
by Girls Pissing On Girls Pissing

Muzai Records

Review Date
3rd September 2015
Reviewed by
Nich Cunningham

Many strive to produce unique and singular creative work. It’s not easy and generally leads to questioning the whole notion of originality. Auckland’s Girls Pissing On Girls Pissing doesn't exist in a void, yet they manage to present a distinctive vision. Their third album Scrying In Infirmary Architecture is a sophisticated and excellent piece of work that builds on the enviable foundation they have laid over the last four years.

It’s worth taking a moment to attempt to describe GPOGP’s sound, since their efforts to avoid easy classification are central to not only their appeal but also their creative raison d’etre. Broadly speaking, the music leverages as series of juxtapositions to produce a general sense of unease. For example, the biting and barking male vocals are a stark contrast against the smooth legato female singing. Likewise, angular and often dissonant guitar lines that would make Roland S. Howard proud can be found set again full lush keyboard work or simple horn drones. Rhythmically speaking, the drumming presents a marshal and quasi-mechanical quality typified by simple, sparse and effective tom patterns. Beneath all this, the bass acts as a cornerstone, often in a supporting role but also making itself felt with tasteful harmonic flourishes.

More specifically , there are no shortage of great songs on Scrying. Some tracks are immediately appealing: 'A Fraud Abroad' exemplifies the band’s use of contrasts to produce penetrating hooks that really get under the listener’s skin in an unexpected way, 'Ceramic Miscarriages' is like a nightmarish re-imagining of Sgt Peppers, while 'Rainbow Islands' might not have sounded out of place on Bowie's Low. But further listening reveals as yet untapped treasures and the band’s skill at fascinating song constructions. 'The Twelfth House' is strident and eventually decays into a lush and haunting horn coda. Similarly, the eponymous track makes use of what maybe a dulcimer set against the guitar and backed up by a trombone to effect a nasty queasy atmosphere. It’s genius.

There is an odd paradox that when defying genre, this will ultimately define a new one, even if there is but a single occupant. And that is what Girls Pissing On Girls Pissing have achieved: they have carved themselves a very inimitable niche. But that alone is not enough. What is important here, aside from anything else, is that Scrying is an extremely strong collection of very well considered and passionate musical works. Kudos.


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