Pumps! (Vice, 04.2010)
For: Gang Gang Dance, Pictureplane, Lucky Dragons
Byline: Chaos Reigns! Beat heavy production almost sinks the goodship Growing.
Listening to Growing is like making a movie, way more fun to talk about than actually do. I take that back, earlier Growing albums were engrossing , drowning headphones in spectacular chopped up rhythmic non-rhythms of heavily manipulated volume swells, screwed guitar lines, and oscillating electronic wizardry. But with Growing's latest album and first for Vice, the Olympian (now New Yorkers) duo (now trio) take on what is obviously their most beat oriented album. Propelling rhythmic underwater guitar drones with scattershot electronic manipulation and cut up vocal contributions from Sadie Laska. The addition of a steely-eyed focus on creating solid, dancehall beats manifest themselves in hiccuping electronics and hacked up club beats that never really move in any sort of linear direction. They sound cool, oddball vocal samples, geographically displaced guitar lines, cavort in a general chaos that prevents any of the tracks from gaining traction the way their minimalist drones would on build on their Lateral EP. Pumps!, at times is a bit overwhelming, with sounds flying at you from behind, between, and underneath, the skittering consumer electronic beats, downright seizure inducing. Growing uses a whole bevy of non-traditional electronic devices to produce an alien sound that sounds millions of miles away from what a guitar should sound like. Stompboxes, touch pads, and drum machines, filter their sustained, repeated guitar lines ad nauseam under the careful manipulation of some of the most accomplished knob-twirlers in music. Pumps! however, lets pre-programmed beats have their way with some of the more subtle elements of Growing's production, creating towering sound collages threatening to blow apart with all the destructive tendencies of a hurricane. Pretty astounding. Pretty overwhelming. Kinda underwhelming. It will be interesting to see where Growing go with this new structure, with their kind of proficiency they will have this new structure down pat in like 3 months.