Pastobal – Logon Calling – Album Review
Just about less than forty-eight hours to go before the official release of the brand-new record from Pastobal called Logon Calling, due out on the 17th of October. If you’ve been checking out the page over the past week or so, then you’ve already had a chance to read through my thoughts on the lead-single – now it’s time to crack into the full album and see what this hybrid fusion band from Paris is up to now!
To be clear…what I mean by ‘fusion’ here is the combination of the underground with the bizarre. There’s a ton of artistic expression in Pastobal’s music that makes it highly unique and identifiable – it has its moments where it slips into a Nick Cave-like gear perhaps…but for the most part, I think you’ll always know who you’re listening to when it comes to this project. There’s a distinct sound here…wild and untamed at times, oddly controlled at others…but DIFFERENT…and my ears always appreciate that.
Whether or not I’m alone in that…well…you’ll have to find out and listen to Pastobal for yourself; there’s no doubt about the fact that it’s definitely not a typical sound…but accessibility isn’t nearly the driving force here – artistic expression, creative freedom, bold imagination…that’s what matters to Pastobal. I’ll say this – it would be one seriously rad world to live in if we all held those same values as priorities.
Like all music that takes chances and experiments with its own creativity in sound…some of these ideas work better than others, but I still think that overall, Pastobal’s come up with something that’ll pull you in close to listen through ideas & structures that are rewarding to listen to for their character & depths.
The brilliantly smooth and inviting sounds of “Dejar Descansar Al Capitan Watson” open Logon Calling – a song that I think does a fantastic job of introducing you to the multifaceted music of Pastobal and the complex-yet-interesting structures they create in their songwriting. Essentially, this first song is like a solid sample of all the vibrantly-imaginative ways that Pastobal approaches music; really clever & wild transitions, highly interesting & versatile musicianship, and a real commitment in their performances. You’ll hear just how well they move, twist and turn through an entire variety of sounds and combine it all into one stunning result…one serious journey through sound. “Dejar Descansar Al Capitan Watson” gets Pastobal off and running with contrasting energies and a highly entertaining set of ideas to start the album heading in the right direction with highly artistic intentions and ambitions on display instantly.
Not too often that I feel this way…but I’m pretty sure I said everything I could possibly say about their lead-single “My Planet” when reviewing it earlier-on this week – check that out right here to get the full details. I can vouch for its inclusion into Logon Calling for certain…it definitely fits and after listening to the record in full, I believe it’s a solid choice as one of the cuts put out there to entice you into Pastobal. I can also comment again on how much I love the bass-lines you’ll find in Pastobal’s music…a factor that continually gets more impressive along the way and rocks throughout the following track “Ensemble En Cendre.” Listen CLOSE to this one and make sure you take-in the awesomeness…cause there’s actually a ton happening; while it might sound fast to your ears, I can almost assure you that they’re moving even faster than you’d think when you listen to it closely. Excellent ideas, new directions for the Pastobal sound are included…and overall, I think they put their own stamp of punk/folk/indie together with energy, confidence and authority on “Ensemble En Cendre.” It’s kind of got that back & forth in the rhythm & groove that a track like “Sliver” from Nirvana has…but then they find like…I dunno…The Arcade Fire approach to how they might make a song like that and open the doors to even more fantastically creative and atmospheric ideas along the way. You really do get that mix of down-n-dirty punk ideals with a real artistic integrity here on “Ensemble En Cendre” – excellent contrasting ideas and energy all throughout the songwriting on this cut.
There’s a LOT I love about “The Sound Of Revolution” – I think it’s one of the most blissfully hypnotic and smart performances on this entire record. You can get lost right into this one in all the best of ways. Pastobal brilliantly switches between languages on this cut – the music itself is just as diverse and imaginative as “The Sound Of Revolution” flows along. The music is incredibly subtle, intense and focused, all at the same time…everything really sounds in-tune with each other here…they sounds like a combination of Interpol and Eskimo Joe on “The Sound Of Revolution” and even in its wildest moments, I think they manage to really keep us believing on this tune. I mean…those vocals after the main-switch…are some people going to think Pastobal has lost their minds right about here? Perhaps! That being said…it’s the kind of hook guaranteed to get stuck in your head and the honest way that it’s sung beckons you to join in the fun and sing along. There are two moments of distinct ‘la-la-la’ parts on this album…and they’re about to pop up back-to-back…this is the one that works strongly in their favor. The main line of the chorus ‘don’t you hear the sound of revolution now?’ is wickedly thought-provoking and completely effective…love the way that line of the hook is sung throughout the entire song.
Pastobal gets really rad & intricate sometimes…I think the atmosphere and music on “A Pacifist” is some of the most entertaining on the record. I really liked the added weight and seriousness that seems to come along with this tune…and for the better-part of the length of this tune I felt like they were extremely focused. The opening verses are compelling, bold and altogether brilliant if you ask me…love the performance on this cut. They might have lost me just a little bit by the increased brightness and lightness in the attitude of the song’s ending, but I felt like the bulk of the song passed the test with good grades and made a memorable impact. The transition just before the final minute is pure musical perfection…the last addition to the structure and vocals is a ‘la-la-la’ part that I’ll fully admit didn’t work for me. Something about it…just seemed to take away from the seriousness nature and atmosphere of the song I suppose…Pastobal was in a completely rad vibe on “A Pacifist.” I’m not entirely sure that the end of this cut doesn’t potentially sour the experience a bit as the attitude lightens-up while we listen.
“N’écoute Pas” was a real highlight on this entire album for me personally. Love the frantic intensity created by the bass and percussion on this tune, loved the way that the acoustic guitars come bursting in brightly to add extra flavor into this track – and above all things, I love the way this track continually entertains through clever decisions, transitions and stunning execution the whole way through. An excellent example of the strange-but-powerful vibe you can get in Pastobal’s music and how it might not exactly have what your ears will consider to be straight-ahead hooks, but you’ll still notice the interesting hold this sound takes on you overall. The switch they put in just prior to the four-minute mark also represents a real shift in the direction of the song’s ending…”N’écoute Pas” may start strong, but it ends arguably even stronger. The pacing, structure and high-level of execution all play a massive role here as Pastobal continually raises the stakes & standards with the wildly inventive ”N’écoute Pas.”
Clever additions like the cat scream in the background of “Supermythomaniac” are just a mere part of its charm. Really interesting tune…like…in some ways, even though they mention Superman…it actually kinda sounds like…like a LOT like what the old Adam West version of Batman would have danced to. So…yeah…there’s that…suppose you can take or leave that comment…doing my best to describe a subtle psychedelic vibe that’s combined with a lot of theatrical & dramatic elements that drive the movement & sound. Pretty much, it’s like the musical equivalent of sitting at a red light in traffic with Pastobal in the car beside you, realizing that the light has turned green way faster than you did, and they’re already blasting off and down the street. It’s definitely an energetic cut…it has a strong approach to the Pastobal sound & style – again, if it’s the punk/folk combination that they’re after and envisioning for their style/sound – “Supermythomaniac” would be a solid representation of that. I like the energy and playful nature of this particular cut…I dig the slightly-jazzy attitude that the keyboards bring to it…love the breakdown with the guitars…and I loved some of the vocal ideas. Some of them, maybe not as much. High-points and low-points on this one cut…but still entertaining, still fun.
Half of me likes “Cool Zen Man” for the title itself – because it damn well makes SENSE. It’s like Pastobal slips right into the groove and into the zone here…you can hear the incredible relationship between all the elements involved and it yields a spectacular result. The rubbery bass-lines are thick, bold and perfection…the way they interact with the crisp snap of the drums, the rad keyboard sounds in the atmosphere and the brilliant way the vocals bounce along this rhythm all work incredibly well. I think the final minute is killer…love the additional backing vocals, love the way that the title becomes hypnotic through repetition and the truly mesmerizing & memorable performance from the vocals that’s completely lost within the moment – and that’s what we always want, as listeners, right? Keyboards play a brilliant role here within the subtle atmosphere laced into the main groove – Pastobal lights up this track with plenty of charisma & charm working in their favor and TONS of texture in the music.
Logon Calling really nails the ending in my opinion. I think from “Cool Zen Man” and forward, you’ll inarguably hear some of the best music and ideas you’ve ever heard from Pastobal to-date. The atmosphere of “We Won’t Give Up” is a masterful mix of mayhem and melody…the performance is so…so honest? I almost don’t know how to describe it…there’s just no pretentiousness here I suppose is what I’m saying…Pastobal could PERHAPS round a corner or two a bit smoother…but that would really take some of the organic sound & style out of their music wouldn’t it? I think it would – and because of that, I think they’ve done the right thing by their ambitions and vision for Pastobal’s music by leaving it with a few quirks and questionable moments that quite often make your ears prick up & listen intently. The music of “We Won’t Give Up” is extraordinary to listen to…love the extreme low-end of the bass and the subtle beat that comes along with the clever pacing to this cut – all of that is excellent and leads to a truly distinct atmosphere and one of the most defined sounds on the album. Love the way the vocals come out on this one…awesome mix of hazy confidence…almost like the drunk at the bar that forgets he was halfway through a conversation, shouting and thrashing wildly every time he remembers. The final two-minutes of “We Won’t Give Up” reveals that Pastobal’s been completely sober and fully in-charge the entire time, changing the direction of the sound entirely into a more uplifting attitude that they ride out straight to the end.
“A Sunday Afternoon” is probably one of my favorites on the record and it makes for a spectacular ending to Logon Calling. Spread-out in the atmosphere, guitar notes ring-out sonically throughout the music while the vocals put in a memorably artistic performance…it’s quite stunning all said & done. Again – if you’re looking for typical hooks, move along…this isn’t a commercial endeavor here, this is art. Pastobal takes you straight into space & beyond on this final track. As “A Sunday Afternoon” hits the harmonics briefly just past the two-thirty mark, the music explodes into an absolutely incredible groove so immaculate and meaty that the Beta Band would have been proud to have written it. I was already enjoying myself in the early stages of “A Sunday Afternoon” – but I can’t possibly deny that this final switch in sound and direction on Logon Calling hit the mark so on-target it was like Robin Hood splitting the arrow. There have been multiple memorable moments along the way throughout this entire album – but I honestly don’t know if there could have been a more memorable one than the final switch on “A Sunday Afternoon” – THAT is how to make an impact and really end a record definitely on a highlight. I’d highly recommend that Pastobal examines the ending of this final cut and how successful that sound really could be for them…it might not be something they’ll do every time…but maybe it should be! As an ending to a record though, I always like to think you’ll be able to hear a hint of the future to come for any band or artist in the final moments…and if this is the direction Pastobal is headed in next…be ready!
Find all kinds of music from Pastobal at Bandcamp: https://pastobal.bandcamp.com/
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