New Album: “Crawling Up the Stairs”

Written by on February 21, 2013

For musicians, it’s an inevitable reality that at some point, you’re going to whore yourself out on social media, and that’s totally understandable. But it’s always great when a band can build a following solely through word of mouth and praise for the music. Such was the case with CR favorite Pure X and their debut PleasureI’ll spare you the labeling Pure X’s music typically receives like “dreamy,” “gazey,” and all that other P4K synesthetic-adjective nonsense, but if anything were an indication of the Austin band’s sound at the time, it would be the album cover – a red rose, chains, and leather cuffs (as if the album’s lushness wasn’t sensual enough). But when a group of guys as elusive and opposed to social media (the band just now joined FB) as Pure X makes such an alluring record, only to return to obscurity, it’s easy for anticipation of a follow-up to turn into, “what happened to that band?”

We can safely say the guys aren’t pulling an “m b v”. A year-and-a-half in the making, Crawling Up The Stairs is what comes from a year of turmoil: physical injury, financial struggle, anguish, uncertainty – but ultimately results in a more refined, mature Pure X. While many attribute their name to the trip-inducing quality of Pure X’s former sound, Crawling informs “X” as a variable for change, though the band stays true to their convictions of purity: recording the album onto two-inch tape then mixing it to 1/4-inch, returning to analog synths and effects, but also introducing more organic instrumentation and significantly cleaner recording.

The album’s first single, “Things In My Head”, hits it off with a strummed acoustic, Austin Youngblood’s signature sparse-yet-exact drumming, shrill synth, and features some beautifully haunting falcetto from bassist Jesse Jenkins (this isn’t his first go-around) accented by Nate Grace’s flanged guitar lines. It’s both psychedelic and gothic (think Echo & The Bunnymen), a sound that, unbeknownst to us, was alluded by Austin cohort/CR Comp contributor Sleep ∞ Over. But perhaps what is most peculiar if not terribly exciting is the new cowboy influence this band of texans seems to have embraced. If this catches on, it’ll only be a matter of time before terminology like “cowboy-wave,” “new-cowboy,” “post-cowboy,” and “boot-gaze” enter the blogosphere lexicon.

Crawling Up the Stairs is out May 9th on Acephale. You can pre-order the new album here (first 250 pre-orders are b&w marbled vinyl, next 750 on white vinyl).

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