Apophenia - White (EP)

Pink Awful

Independent release, 2022


REVIEW BY: John Mulhouse


This is the third in a triptych of EPs by the formerly Reno-based Pink Awful to be released more or less in pandemic times, and the second to be named Apophenia. This is White (the other being Red; see my review). In trying to discern why the songs were broken out into distinct colors, I believe White is meant to represent the band’s more experimental side, utilizing lots of programmed percussion and floating a bit more than Red, on which every song gleefully crashes back to earth eventually.

In fact, guitarist (and bassist on these recordings) Mike Miller gets a “programming” credit on this outing. Although there is some serious rock here, too, as evidenced by lead off track and personal favorite, “Seas Of Salt,” which starts with gentle synthetic percussion and some electronic shimmer before kicking into the fantastic mid-period Dischord-type my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Sturm und Drang that this band does so well

“Call Me Robin” is a further step toward the ethereal, and singer Ashley Costelloe continues to at times remind one of Karen O, but not overbearingly so. (As if sounding like Karen O could be a bad thing!) In any case, Costelloe’s voice goes many different places over the course of this song alone, and there’s also plenty of tasteful noise interspersed.

In the middle of the record, “For My Own” is an eerie, partly-spoken track with a drum machine and sheets of pealing feedback built around a lilting chorus. I’m not entirely sure what the story being told is, but the atmosphere is creepy enough keep one guessing over repeated listens.

“Screaming Carts” is the dreamiest song, but also perhaps not so far removed from Neu! or Can in its unspooling linearity. It’s a bit of a rest before the finale, “Unzipped,” which is a move back toward the known, with live drums from Chris Croft and Fugazi-esque guitar work amidst the electronic effects. As usual, Costelloe sings beautifully and enough noise and static bleeds through to keep things from getting too sleek.

With Apophenia - White, Pink Awful push further into electronic realms and esoteric structures, and while I do typically favor the full-on rock and roll a wee bit more, this is clearly fertile ground for these musicians to explore and it’s a real pleasure to listen to. A recent move to Chicago seems to have put the band into limbo, and I sure hope they can find a way to continue making music. They were easily the best local band I saw when I lived in Reno, and they could easily be the best band in many other towns, too.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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