For my money, Pianos Become the Teeth is the best thing to come out of the emo revival of the early 2010s. From their screamo roots in “The Wave” alongside bands like La Dispute and Touche Amore, their move to a more melodic brand of post-rock-inspired emo created Keep You, one of the most arresting albums I have ever heard. It remains in constant rotation, to the point that it took me months to finally stop listening to that and listen to its follow-up.
Now, Pianos Become the Teeth has released “Genevieve,” the first single from their new album Drift. And even with the sky-high expectations the band has set for themselves, it lives up to every ounce of the hype.
“Genevieve” hits all the right buttons. Hyperactive drum grooves and cascading guitar arpeggios dance around one another in elegant polyrhythms while ambient guitar effects flutter in the background. Over this frontman Kyle Durfey muses on a simple melody in a plaintive baritone.
The bridge introduces an uneasy chord progression, and the mood shifts. The track turns dark and multiple vocal parts wrestle with one another for a few bars before the track explodes. Guitars shred tremolo-picked lines as Durfey wails at the top of his range until the track abruptly collapses, leaving tape loops bubbling over the embers, no doubt transitioning to the next song on the album (I’m pretty sure you can hear Durfey inhaling before the first line of the next song before the track cuts off).
Between the impeccable interplay of the instruments, the ruminative lyrics, and the passion of the song’s explosive end, it’s clear that the band hasn’t lost their magic in the four years since Wait For Love. Judging by the single, I wouldn’t be surprised if Drift has a prominent place on my year end list.
Drift is out August 26th through Epitaph Records.