The Pen Test: Interstate LP (Moniker Records, 2014)

October 24, 2014 at 10:43 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

The Pen Test: Interstate LP

The Pen Test: Interstate LP

On The Pen Test’s debut LP, they explore the highway as a dark, lonely, mania-inducing place. Musically, it might be indebted to Autobahn (complete with side-long opening title track), but thematically it might be a little closer to The Magnetic Fields’ The Charm Of The Highway Strip. The epic 21-minute “Interstate” has an icy pulse and Suicide-like vocals, with synth sounds approximating late-night traffic passing by in the dead of night. The song comes to a standstill around the 10-minute mark, with just a faint, nervous heartbeat, which fades away and reappears towards the end. “Za-Zen” is quirky, bloopy electro-pop with more straightforward vocals, which seem content to simply “let the interstate have its way”. “Like Machine” is a shorter track with a faster, more Drexciyan electro beat, and off-the-wall vocal stylings. “CEO” is another uptempo nervous-pop number, in which the singer claims that he’s “solving all your problems with money”, and it seems doubtful that you should trust him. The song ends with the most dramatic flute solo you could ever hope to hear from a minimal-synth song. “The Great Eroder” ends the album with some pretty credible Detroit-flavored dancefloor electro, complete with down-pitched vocals and grubby, filtered synth sweeps and arpeggios. Music to hopefully not crash your car to. Vinyl and digital available from Bandcamp.

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