Here's what you need to know: Drea Smith is really good. And despite OK Go's perpetual mediocrity, the band's Tim Nordwind branches out and gives Smith an interesting palette to do her thing. Pyyramid's debut EP is an atmospheric groove, one that sounds more and more of the current era music resides. Not quite electronic, but definitely more than acoustic. Among the very best examples of this is The xx's debut record, and there's some xx contained in Human Beings, at least stylistically.
The five song, sixteen and a half minute EP finds its strength in the first three songs. The fourth song, "Animals" is a misguided faux-punk song disruptive of the stirring atmosphere cultivated in the preceding songs. As such, we'll now be dismissing "Animals" from our conversation. "Human Beings" appears twice, the second time being a DMK remix, and though the remix does a good job of breathing new life into the original, it doesn't feel totally right to hype up Pyyramids because of remix work. Trust me, it's a good song, but we'll also dismiss this song from our discussion. On to the meat!
"Don't Go" is a pretty fantastic song that actually reminds me quite a bit of an xx song (female vocals only, however). The strong post-punk bass melds with whooshing synths and Smith's lax vocal delivery. Smith's melody is wonderful, wich is extremely catchy, especially next to the bouncy bass line. The middle section shows its teeth with a shrieking background texture while Smith stays completely unfazed. This is a total hats-off song to Nordwind, and of course Smith, who sings "don't go" so indifferently you're not sure what she really wants. "Human Beings" is more straightforward and contains a harder edge, with its espionage stock music melody. "That Ain't Right" is a good mix of the two, despite being the opening track; it's got the lushness and cushion of "Don't Go" but the more energetic music and a more melodically engaged Smith. The texture is again impressive as Nordwind introduces a powerful e-bow at the end of the first chorus which gives the song a real sense of weight.
I'm a bigger fan of the laconic style of "Don't Go," the lightest of the three, which features incredibly sparse moments while still incorporating really fresh textures in the background. I'd love to see Pyyramids explore an LP of such material. Still, "That Ain't Right" and "Human Beings" are very solid, as well and it's a pleasure to hang out with Smith for any amount of time. Her and Nordwind are a very rewarding pair on Human Beings, and hopefully they can grow even further into a really good act.
1. That Ain't Right
2. Don't Go
3. Perfect Picture
4. Human Beings