art rock electronica House IDM indie rave review shoegaze synth

Pendant – Harp Review

When a rocker takes the guitars to a rave.

Sounds like…

If an indie rocker went to a rave and took his guitars along for the ride.

The review

Pendant’s previous “Through A Coil” is a superb and underrated album chock full of indie rock anthems. Totally switching gears, “Harp” is a heady mix of dance, house, rave, shoegaze and pop. The idea is that Pendant is diving back to his childhood where he used his connection to “extreme” genres of music to escape a chaotic home life. This chaos is expertly crafted into something surprisingly cohesive with “Harp”.

photo of Pendant
Pendant

Each song has a totally different spin on this genre hotpot. The single “Static Dream” mixes indie-pop beats with dancefloor arpeggio synths that have been muddied into a shoegaze bleed out of sound. It’s in this merger and the punk-ish singing where things really collide at their best. “Laid in Orchids” is a more artsy electronica number that has moments of serenity with blissed-out synths and bassless drum loops. Then we are smashing into something that reminds me heavily of Beastie Boy’s “Sabotage” with “Thorn”. Heavy hip-hop beats, megaphone grizzled vocals and then diving guitar moments screeching out of control for chorus hooks. It is an opening trio that sets you on a tailspin but various media samples give a leftfield cohesion to everything. It’s like flipping channels in your musical brain.

We then divebomb into 90s rave with the catchy retro glee of “LED Head Rush”. Pretty synths cascade in the verses with pop-friendly bass riffs and house beats with a skip. Things then sonically expand into a hedonistic explosion of sound. It’s tricky to describe production-wise but the chorus thins out all the instrumentation and hazes it out like a trip – it’s really clever and fun to listen to. “Blue Mare” owes a lot to the synthwave revival whilst tracks like “Altered Destinies” and “Latex Heart” play with ambient and otherworldly synths.

The title track itself kicks off a series of heavy industrial and bass-driven numbers. Between “Harp” and “Contract” you have two pieces that get progressively more aggressive and abrasive. It is here where the previous rockier side of Pendant really kicks in as he is able to push to the point where you feel like the synths are about to break into heavy metal but they refrain. “Rights for an Angel” then brings in that house and rave element into the mix. In what is probably my favourite misheard lyric in 2022 so far, I thought Pendant was singing “rice for an angel”. Feel free to judge me. Two rockier tracks end the album bringing you back down to earth, but “Blood Rite” is a digital bonus track that I recommend you grab. It is a superb intelligent dance number with plenty of house beats, vocoder and crazy synths to keep you dancing. If anything, it’s the danciest track on the album and one of the most radio-friendly!

Whilst I was genuinely surprised at the genre hop, Pendant pulls it off fantastically. The cohesive chaos either from sample snippets, muddy synths and guitars or aggressively warped vocals gives the music a body and frame. Pendant then works with this palette, switching things around and keeping everything fresh, and tuneful but also like things could descend into a punk v punk fight at any moment. It’s an odd thing to say that the carefully jumbled roughness makes the album what it is, but in this case, it really does. A fine album from an artist who can clear turn his hand to many genres and master them.

Recommended track: Static Dream

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Pendant - Harp

8.5

8.5/10

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