Pelican - What We All Come To Need
I suspect that I am in the very small minority of people who have been bitten by a pelican.
At an animal park, aged about seven I threw one some food, which it ignored. Bending down to pick the food up to give to a more grateful creature, the bugger clapped its prehistoric bill round my tiny skull and chomped down. And that’s when the problems started, all those fires and broken windows ...
Luckily these Pelicans, aren’t going to fill my life with misery and endless psychological tests. They instead fill my life with a glorious, vibrant sound that cast away all thoughts of matches and accelerant.
On first listen through it’s a breathtaking and staggeringly well recorded album. Drones rise from within and bright open notes separate perfectly in the mix. Drums are hard and heavy, their deft patterns setting a funky precedence that underpins the whole record. Album opener ‘Glimmer’ has a down and dirty rhythm section juxtaposed with Steve Jones guitars. It’s got a groove but ‘The Creeper’ knocks that groove out of the park; it’s just fantastic, a driving drum pattern and those searing high notes leaping out of the dirge only to be pulled back in again. ‘Strung Up From The Sky’ drifts through the clouds only to change direction into a storm of grandiose riffs raining down on all-and-sundry.
As an instrumental outfit one doesn’t expect vocals, but when they come through as gorgeous ghostly harmonies on album closer ‘Final Breath’ the band move a rung up the ladder, one step closer to paradise. Without turning into Oz Clark, it’s got the intensity of Mogwai, the shoegazing-fuzz of My Bloody Valentine and the harmonies of early Ride. It skips the preliminaries and goes forward as a contender for track of the year.
But on experiencing their magnificence with vocals, subsequent plays find you willing them to sing. There are subtle vocal harmonies in the mix and like your child’s first school play you sit with fists clenched urging them to open up - but it never comes to anything. It’s not until the curtain is coming down that they find their voice. It doesn’t spoil the album, as it’s far too good for that, but the nagging question of “How awesome would this track be with vocals?” lingers in the mind. It’s room for improvement but you can’t really criticise your favourite teapot just because it doesn’t make bacon.