It’s an interesting moment when The Pale Pacific‘s EP, Rules are predictable, stops. The thought of “what did I just listen to?” floats around in your head. Not because of them being overtly experimental guys with masks playing 5/4 signatures with lyrics about Picasso fighting Lavoisier, but because of the genres the band tackles.
The first time I listened to them was in a car with my dad and he said “what genre is this?” I still can’t answer the question and I no longer have this EP as it is now property of my dad. ‘Sucker punch’ is a devious 5 minute track. It coyly starts with a beeping sound and a Hammond organ doing its magic. It’s soothing and relaxing until you hear the words “And I will wreck you”. Uh? A menace sung as a promise. It’s unsettling and utterly perfectly juxtaposed by the chiming organ notes, the dreamy guitar doing its magic and the inevitable explosion of feelings when the song goes for that dirty, distorted ending. The ending is just perfect, an almost silent moment accentuated by that “I will give it a shot” succinctly delivered.
‘In the sun pt.1’ goes for the straight rock, short and sweet, all over in less than 2 minutes (and no “woo hoo” in sight). ‘Identity theft’ appears to be following suit with the rock atmosphere, but the guitar is take out of equation several times by either some bassy jangliness or chimes. The song’s crazy and fun, like each section trying to upstage each other. “Better than the original”, they proclaim. I for one root for the doppelgangers.
My most played song in Rules are predictable is the nostalgic ‘All my friends’. There’s something about the gorgeous and dreamy atmosphere the band creates here; a string section (via synths), that wonderful Hammond, the pacey drumming and the bass, recreating a living room filled with your relatives (the good ones and the bad ones) and the strange feelings in family reunions. It harks to an era long gone, not an identifiable one in decades, but named as our childhood years, whenever you, the listener, had them.
A few months after listening to this EP, I got American Analog Set‘s The Golden Band. I also played it in my dad’s car. He asked if it was the same genre as The Pale Pacific. I told him yes and that it was “music for memories of family reunions”. He said nothing and we continued driving. That’s his way of agreeing.
By the way, we interviewed the band a while ago.
Words: Samuel J. Valdés López