Remember that band Throw Me The Statue? Their breakout album Moonbeams in 2008 featured summery pop-rock anthems that got stuck in our heads and took the Seattle band to fame. Head honcho of TMTS Scott Reitherman has traded his acoustic guitar for a synth in his new solo project Pillar Point, produced by fellow TMTS alum Charlie Smith. Reitherman mixes melancholy, emotional lyrics with bouncy electronic beats on the self-titled album out Feb. 25 on Polyvinyl Records. While Pillar Point lacks a completely unified vision, it gives glimpses of dreamy, synthy, seriously catchy pop tunes.
The album starts out weak, but improves drastically as it finds its rhythm. The first two tracks seem to dash from genre to genre, scrambling from Active Child to Rooney to Depeche Mode to Phoenix to the Wombats to Peter Gabriel in under five minutes. Reitherman imitates these bands well, but the songs create feelings of hodgepodge whiplash rather than intriguing complexity. The album as a whole seems to not know how it wants to sound– songs jump from synth pop to Brit pop, from dancey to dreamy– it seems Pillar Point has incorporated every pop micro-trend from 2008-2011.
Reitherman figures out his intended direction with the intensely grabby third track “Cherry.” A catchy synth melody and crisp drums lead into the first verse, sung by a nonchalant voice backed by groovy syncopated beats. This multilayered track evokes the dreamy psychedelic sounds of Toro Y Moi’s later albums. Reitherman continues with the complexity of the first songs, but manages to do so successfully this time around– he manipulates electronic sounds and layers them to create foot-tapping melodies and enchanting sonic textures. “Dreamin’” is another stand-out track which explores dreamy landscapes in the likes of Beach House, Toro Y Moi and Grizzly Bear.
Although Reitherman likes to jump between different sounds, Pillar Point showcases Reitherman’s talent as a songwriter. Almost every song has a synth hook or vocal chorus that worms its way into your mind and stays there. He combines sincere lyrics with some of the catchiest sonic snippets in indie pop these days. “Echoes,” the last track on the album, will leave you humming the chorus the rest of the day. At first, Pillar Point’s patchwork musical styles create fragmented songs; by the end of the album, however, Reitherman learns the technique of amalgamation and creates memorable pop blends.
Pillar Point still needs some refining before it produces a cohesive sound that establishes its individuality and identity. There were glimpses of greatness in the band’s infant state, however– once Pillar Point finds its voice, it will be well worth listening.