Pagan Day is frustrating. On one hand, it’s a tight post-punk release by the Québécois quartet PyPy.1 On the other hand, it abuses the worst of indie rock clichés. The opening title track is a positively badass beginning with some French spoken word-ish that reminds one of the Pixies in its brashness. There’s some wah-wah craziness toward the end, and it’s all with a strong, driving rhythm section that gives the track a place in one a Top 25 best-tracks-you-never-heard list for 2014.
Follow-up “New York” is almost equally as strong. Annie-Claude Deschênes’ voice is awesome; she wrings out those notes in a way that would have Rudolf Laban partying in his grave. The rhythm section stands out once again, propelling the song in a peculiar dance-punk/no-wave groove.2 “Molly” may be an ode to the drug of wannabe-HxC kids everywhere or a silly ditty toward a former flame; it’s dumb (and has okay musicianship), but it’s dumb fun. “Daffodils” brings back the no-wave with a couple Durutti Column guitar solos. It goes on too long for its own good, but it’s great times.
Then PyPy fuck themselves over with an absolutely awful attempt to be silly psychedelic kids that all those indie boys and girls are doing these days. “Too Much Cocaine” is a revolting attempt at indie-druggie cred that is neither funny nor clever, and it’s too schizoid to be interesting. PyPy bring some male vocals3 that try way too damn hard. Dude says “motherfucker” and “shit” like they’re going out of style. Shut the hell up. “Too Much Cocaine” is an incredibly aggravating song; lots of psych-punk here that’s 2edgy4me.
“She’s Gone” brings up the album again through simple lyrics and winding guitars in the same vein as “Daffodils.” Not bad, but as with its sister song, it’s too long. Closing track “Ya Ya Ya / Psychedelic Overlords” doesn’t just fall, it collapses into the same trap as “Too Much Cocaine:” the first half is some weird boy/girl trade-off with a lot of “ya ya ya”s and that’s it. It’s neither funny nor interesting; just filler on this short 31-minute album. Those horrendous male vocals are back, with more “fuck” and “shit” that trips over its teenage shoelaces. The second half is a nice series of psychedelic post-punk guitar solos with a hint of Thee Oh Sees garage-rock edginess that closes the album on a note almost as strong as “Pagan Day” began.
Pagan Day is only seven tracks long, and two of them are entirely skippable.4 PyPy have the post-punk grooves and the no wave moves; they’ve also got the insecure braggadocio that comes with trying way too hard.
1. Pagan Day – (4:10) – ★★★★★
2. New York – (4:21) – ★★★★☆
3. Molly – (3:14) – ★★★☆☆
4. Daffodils – (5:14) – ★★★★☆
5. Too Much Cocaine – (4:12) – ★☆☆☆☆
6. She’s Gone – (5:34) – ★★★★☆
7. Ya Ya Ya / Psychedelic Overlords – (4:57) – ★★☆☆☆
1With some goddamn good album art.
2PyPy recognizes Liquid Liquid as an influence, and I’m feeling it.
3Whose name I can’t fucking find! How fucking hard is it to list your goddamn band members and their instruments on your goddamn web site or whatever? I can’t fucking find ANY information on the band members other than their errant interviews where they say NOTHING of note. Not even what dude sings on half of your goddamn songs! What the fuck is up with that bullshit!
4Except for that last half of “Ya Ya Ya / Psychedelic Overlords.”