Our recent enforced absence has at least meant that Albums on our new music playlist have had a particularly thorough listening, and the release which has stood out most throughout the last 3 weeks has been Norwegian duo 'Pyke' with their impressive and brave album 'Detox'. This is an album which cleverly brings together a vast number of influences, progressive, shoegaze and maybe even post rock too and it is so expansive in its delivery that you'll find it hard to fathom how this comes from simply 2 band members.
Pyke is the musical project of vocalist Kjersti Lindtveit and guitarist Benjamin Pyke who met back in 2006. After playing in other bands together (notably a post rock band named 'Vena'), their music has gradually surfaced after many years exploring different sounds. The result is 'Detox' and it is a fairly extraordinary album with a defined richness in its songwriting and arrangements. Guitars, synths and piano alternate but the constant is Kjersti Lindtveit's soulful and ethereal vocals, which have a real purity to them, as well as a distinctness.
The album opens with 'Close', with real emotion flowing from a big instrumental opening, followed by intense vocals and intimate lyrics. I guess the most obvious comparison in style seems to be with bands such as Mew, but I'm reminded too of some of the gothic influenced rock bands I was probably listening to 25 years ago. 'Intimacy II' is a good track to add to your latest playlists as an example of the 'Pyke' sound, opening up with a vocal melody tinged with melancholia before an expansive instrumental section launches an almost anthemic style chorus.
'Detox' feels like a 'real' album, with a continuity to the tracks and it is probably true to say that it is more impressive as a collective than in the sum of the individual tracks. I like 'Follow Me' which again demonstrates the strength of the vocals, whilst 'Vacuum' also appeals and in the vocal harmonies reminds me of early Lush and a shoegaze influence, which balances well with the post and progressive rocks instrumentation. 'Offended' has a different feel to it, I appreciate the subtleties of the piano opening, it is starker to start before building to a huge emotional climax.
'Detox' is an album which has been years in the making, and it feels like it has been carefully handcrafted throughout that time - written, nurtured, and polished for years until it was as close to Pyke's vision as possible. Impressive in its scale, with an intensity that I've rarely seen in the last 12 months, Pyke have delivered an album which is both dark and beautiful in equal measures. 'Detox' is both a success and a huge achievement, but it is also satisfying and enjoyable to listen to, and I have no doubt it will sneak into our Albums of the Year list in a couple of weeks time.
Nordic Music Review 8.5 /10
Detox was Pyke's debut album was produced by Martin Bowitz (Cold Mailman) and Jørgen S. Larsen (Kråkesølv, Lukestar). You can buy the album here: http://bit.ly/Detox_iTunesApple