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Pyramid Scheme - Everything But Rap and Country

Chicago, IL's Pyramid Scheme is the current project of former Half-Milk guitarist Rajiv Raju. This long awaited gem is a milestone in the band's career as it's the first full-length studio release. Joined by Seth Engel on drums and Al Costis on bass guitar, this album displays world class musicianship. Let's get one thing straight first and foremost: I wouldn't refer to this as pseudo anything. There's no question that this is a math rock record. It has obvious jazz influences like most other good music does. This follows very few of the lastest trends in music or math rock for that matter. It's not always pretty, it's often ugly and it certainly doesn't wait for you to catch up to it. Dissonant sections fraternize with melody, as gentle harmonious interludes pave roads for outlaw 16th note speed runs to make their voices heard and an inclusive mix of distorted as well as clean soloing proves this album has everything anyone could love about music, except for rap or country. Track #2 "You Can't Tuna Piano But You Can't Tune a Fish" has some drone sounding qualities towards the beginning, then goes on to spazz out as per the common theme of this particular album. Like most of my other favorite math rock bands the guitar is the star of the show. Although few and far between the repititous sections allow room for the angular bass lines to speed up and scatter about the fretboard as well. It is however a special treat when the guitar and bass both spasm-out at simultaneously like in song #6 "The Well Tempered Clavier." You like those classical music references? I told you it has everything. One of my favorite songs on the album is track #8 "DJ Sloth: Live and Unplugged in Heaven." As distorted squiggly noodles comingle with poly-rhythmic guitar tapping riffs, a second guitar peeks in to bring stability with it's simple 4 note message, a sound similar to what piglet does in their song "Caramel." All of the noodly interludes, the distinctive ones that distinguish Pyramid Scheme from every other jazzy math rock band, have a "jazz manouche" or "gypsy jazz" ring to them. Go listen to some old tunes by Django Reinhart, explore other Jazz artists of that era and you'll hear what I mean. I've been wanting to get to this as it's something that caught my ear and made me want to listen to it over and over again. This doesnt happen often with me, but when it does it's beautiful, as I get to know the music intimately. Other music that has had this effect on me are invalids and Dore Mear Beon. Heavily influenced by gypsy jazz soloing, this disjunctive rock music has a lot to offer the math rock fan, free jazz fan, or anyone who just wants something not boring like you'd find on the radio. Pyramid Scheme's latest album absolutely rips and I give it a 5/4, which is the math rock version of a 5 out of 5 star rating.

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