Elegant desert-shoe-gaze-rock from Santa Fe, New Mexico FFO Pigrow, Storming The Beaches With Logos In Hand and Father John Misty. The landscapes and artistry of Santa Fe, New Mexico comes through well on this older “post rock” cassette. The region’s Kokopelli imagery is a reminder to celebrate fertile land and the gift of life. Pitch & Bark seem to lock in step with that tradition. Letting their state directly influence the lush, dry sounds. I’ve always been fascinated with the regional colloquialism phenomenon. When does an artist admit that there are larger forces at work?
Are you writing the music or is the music writing you? Luke Bern Carr seems to be doing the latter. Making music via multi-track recording can be an exercise in patience and flexibility. Often times you start making the song you think you want to make and finish making the song that wanted to be made. This is usually most interesting to the musicians involved and not always a mass audience. Smashing Pumpkins, NIN and Boston are just a few successful exceptions to the rule. I feel Pitch & Bark is a highly successful example of this style of music making as well. I hear elements of The Beatles and Queens Of The Stone Age in nearly every song.
Carr has acted as band leader, producer and composer in several groups in Northern New Mexico since landing there in 2010 from back East. His work with acoustic instrumentation seems to be his strongest suit. Madeline Johnston’s vocals are the standout performance on this 2 EP tape release. I’m sure as a first hand observer this music would have much more gravity. Being in the dust, sun and snow all at once can have an alarming effects on any musical experience. One that doesn’t always translate effectively outside of its natural habitat.
These songs are nine years old, leading me to believe that they are intended for fans already familiar with Carr’s more current work. Repetitive open chords, syncopated cymbals and little vocal variance tells a story of musicians learning their craft. Shoe gaze fails to catch my ear. It seldom suspends belief for me. What about these songs took years to record “correctly?” Cymbals that aren’t cracked or broken played with tight cleanness and mixed too loud. I suspect this is what “remastered” means. Carr’s home recording knowledge likely improved a great deal in that time and perhaps he even purchased a compression plug-in. Drums played by a guitar player or guitar played by a drummer maybe.
His newer solo work “American Romantic” on his own Bernlore records is much more realized and modern feeling to me, complete with a professional music video. Pigrow, Luke Bern Carr and Storming The Beaches With Logos In Hand all have some good songs on Bandcamp. If shoegaze suspended you, look them up.