Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
In this review, I’m going to be delving into Pqlyr, (pronounced ‘peculiar’) an incredibly intriguing outfit with a fresh take on pop sensibility and tropes. Their music is “pop music for the apocalypse,” embracing familiar stylings blended together with a tragic element. Their latest record is ‘Exothermic,’ a six-track release that dropped earlier this year in July. This month, they’ve released ‘Tight Wake,’ a new single. Let’s check both of them out.
When digging into the music of Pqlyr, I really wasn’t sure what to expect as a critic. Tragedy and apocalyptic musings don’t typically blend with pop music. I’d argue that self-description is only partially apt, though. I found moments in ‘Exothermic’ to be dramatically uplifting, even anthemic in nature. As is the case with the eclectic opener, ‘Way Forward.’ This tune embraces indie rock, pop, electronic, alternative, and several other influences to the fullest. The reverb-heavy, atmosphere-laden jaunt through synthesizers is a compelling piece of dramatic proportions.
‘It’s Not Real,’ the following song, concretes Pqlyr’s, well, peculiar sound even further. The female-lead piece is fascinatingly complex, toying with sonic intricacies I haven’t heard from an outfit in the indie scene in quite a long time. There’s a retro feel the band’s sound, as if they’re a female fronted Joy Division or New Order with a heavier blend of accessibility. Even though the outfit’s music is bizarre on paper, it actually feels very organic and clicks aurally. Thus, I don’t think the group will have trouble with new fans accessing their catalog or sound.
‘Chalks’ continues Pqlyr’s endeavor through interesting instrumentation as well. The guitar riffs bouncing off of one another as the lead vocalist hauntingly croons are a defiant highlight of the collection. ‘Sinking In’ is one of the more complex tracks of the album. It gives me an opportunity to talk about the production quality of Pqlyr’s music; it’s nothing short of exceptional. The atmospheres and soundscapes the band creates are majestic. The quality, love, and tact that went into these compositions and mixes is boggling.
‘Endless Mondays’ was a favorite of mine, though it didn’t grow on me until my third or fourth excursion into ‘Exothermic.’ This song truly felt apocalyptic to me, especially lyrically. The distress conveyed in the instrumentalism and vocal portrayal of this piece is breathtaking: for a band that describes themselves as a tragic group, their music has a tendency to be some of the most gorgeous indie rock I’ve heard this year.
‘Way To Go,’ the finale of Exothermic, is the best song of the bunch. Goodness, this creepy, but enthralling number is dynamic as all hell. The rock and roll influence melding with the electronica stylings is perfect. The marriage of the styles couldn’t be better. To close out this review, though, let’s touch on Pqlyr’s new single, ‘Tight Wake.’
‘Tight Wake’ is a sonic contrast to the album that preceded it. The same lovable elements of the sound are still there, but this dreamy, surreal song feels uplifting and filled with love. It’s a compelling argument for the band’s ability to continue to build their creativity off of the masterful ‘Exothermic.’ Thus, how do I rate Pqlyr’s recent tunes? They’re among the best indie songs I’ve reviewed in my two year tenure as an independent critic. Go listen to them. Now.