Avey Tare & Kria Brekkan - Pullhair Rubeye
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Avey Tare & Kria Brekkan
Pullhair Rubeye

When tracks from this album were first leaked a couple months, there was a bit of a controversy and some definite back-and-forth arguing amongst fans about whether it was some sort of an elaborate joke or not. The reason for that is because this album by Avey Tare (aka Dave Portner of Animal Collective) and Kria Brekkan (aka Kristin Anna Valtysdottir, formerly of Mum) is comprised of songs that play out entirely in reverse. After some discussion (and some posts by Avery Tare clearing up things), it seemed official that that Pullhair Rubeye was indeed supposed to be that way.

After hearing the album, I can easily see how there would be some confusion. On the first track "Sis Around The Sandmill," some hand percussion, chanted vocals, and organs swirl together in a semi-queasy way, sometimes letting loose with playful wisps of melody while most of the time simply sounding like what it is (an experimental pop track playing backwards). About halfway through the album, on the hiccuping "Lay Lay Off, Faselam," it really sinks in that things aren't going to change, and while there are some places where the experiment truly charms, there are fives times more places where it simply leaves you scratching your head.

About two-thirds of the way through the release, the two let loose with "Palenka," and the three-minute piece plays out in a way that the backwards quality becomes an actual part of the track instead of simply a distraction. On the piece, a repeated guitar (?) phrase plays over and over again, with the resonance from the notes actually playing out before them, giving the track an otherworldly quality that is hypnotic. Album closer "Was Onaip" (reverse the title for instrumentation) also manages some nice spots, with swirling notes breaking across eerie drones in occasionally excellent ways.

For the most part, though, the album is seriously frustrating. Tracks like the sped-up "Foets No-Man" and "Sasong" are nearly unlistenable, with chipmunk-style voices chirping out gibberish over sped-up reversed organs and guitars that make you wonder what the heck they were thinking. Some people have apparently taken the time to reverse the release (making in play forward) and said that it sounds better this way, but it seems more trouble than it's worth given that the artists wanted Pullhair Rubeye to be released this way in the first place. Flat-out confounding, this one is a disappointment.

rating: 310
Aaron Coleman 2007-04-26 21:09:41