On 2014’s ‘Keep You’, Baltimore five-piece Pianos Become The Teeth turned a corner to a mostly welcomed approach; swapping abrasive screamo of their early work for clean, almost atmospheric melodies. Now as they return for their fourth outing, ‘Wait For Love’, PBTT promise to reconcile their aggressive past. Butt it’s not quite executed in the final product. Nevertheless, ‘Wait For Love’ does see a band venture away from the morose tone that anchored its predecessor.
‘Fake Lightning’ stirs with optimism amongst a textured backdrop of earthy drums. Likewise, ‘Charisma’ is a sturdy follow up, neatly blending Kyle Durfey’s clean vocals with a strong and upbeat rhythm section as he sings of seeing his newborn son for the first time. ‘Bitter Red’ rings with a rumbling undertone, capturing the devasting realisation that his widowed mother is ageing and not capable of what she used to be.
As ‘Wait For Love’ plays through, Durfey’s emotive words serve as its spine, and with a tendency to pull back and build up, the execution is compelling. Songs such as ‘Dry Spells’ and ‘Manila’ perfectly exemplify this trait. Vocally, Durfey conveys his emotions with precision, luring you with his personal tales of complicated pregnancies (‘Forever Sound’), the stress of being away from his partner while on tour (‘Bloody Sweat’), and the heartbreaking conclusion that his newborn son will never meet his Grandfather (‘Blue’).
For the most part, the harmonious indie/post-hardcore template of its predecessor remains. Nevertheless, ‘Bay of Dreams’ serves as a spacious midpoint. It’s a departure for the quintet yet it doesn’t feel isolated. It neatly wovens its way into ‘Wait For Love’’s emotive fabric.
Overall, ‘Wait For Love’ is a multi-faceted record that requires patience to be lyrically understood. However, the familiar warm instrumentation threads it all together, giving it a sense of consistency, most notably in David Haik’s textured drums. It’s a reasonable sequel to ‘Keep You’ that is, occasionally, too refined yet is organically delivered.
‘Wait For Love’ by Pianos Become The Teeth is released on 16th February on Epitaph Records.
Words by Sêan Reid (@SeanReid86)