Everything about The Fourth Wall the debut record from Tacoma-based orchestral rock band Pyro screams “look at me!” Their enflamed name, the record’s title (do I need to elaborate?) and even the album’s cover, which looks like it was taken from a still of a Godard film. Before one even hears the music the careful observer, in this case moi, gets the sense that we are dealing with the types who are seeking to make art in a very conscious way. And the songs themselves let you know they are there. They reach out and grab you, shake you.
Let’s start at the beginning with the sauntering and bluesy “She Comes in Waves.” It seems a song that should have come in the middle of the record, in the way that it lazily and hazily showcases the kitchen sink of talent of its members; songwriter, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Max Kaesshaefer and bassist James Roan.
The band is rounded out on The Fourth Wall by Zack Doyle on bass and percussion, Kevin Oh on guitar, Scott Johannen waxing the trombone and occasional vocals from Stefanie Schecter. Although it gives for a nice flow into the sparse and skeet and jazzy blues of “The Arrival,” on which Kaesshaefer’s deeply soulful and hard edged vocals meld with Oh’s dirty deliciously dirty guitar and Johannen’s trombone lends a dirty brass touch that truly helps to make the song.
Pyro then quiets things down a bit on the quiet and shifty “Porcelain.” Next the band takes on Hemingway’s classic The Sun Also Rises on the slow and gritty “The Bullfighter.” Lady Brett Ashley would be proud. Vocalist Stefanie Schecter makes her appearance on the pop-jazz “Candy Store” and is definitely a welcomed addition by this point. Next up “Neptune” which is pretty in its sparseness seems like we’ve moved into a different album on a playlist but finishes sounding like an incomplete piece of a demo. The same goes for the incomplete sounding “Human Nature.” Pyro closes out The Fourth Wall with “Visceral” an alt country tune with somewhat jam band electronic hues.
Pyro doesn’t lack talent. They sometimes lack direction. The Fourth Wall is an insight into this. It’s an album of good songs primarily but could be more cohesive. Recommended
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