Del Rey – A Pyramid For The Living

Del Rey
A Pyramid For The Living

Behind the glossy packaging of A Pyramid For The Living is an admirable philosophy. Chicago quartet Del Rey claim their third album is not a monolithic monument to a dead hero, as an ancient pyramid is, but rather what it sounds like to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into existence. Unfortunately, most of the disc’s 50 minutes is made up of mundane, sinister sounding, instrumental post-rock with heavy bass and pounding drums, effectively transforming the band’s claim from admirable to pretentious.

The 5 songs on the album tend to follow the principles of instrumental post-rock by starting soft and slowly building to loud and fast. It’s what happens during this progression that makes the trip worthwhile or not, and again Del Rey fail to impress. The songs’ evolutions rely mostly on tempo shifts and time signature changes rather than anything musically dynamic or entertaining. The drumming is not particularly smooth throughout and while the songs move along, they seem to be directionless with no pre-conceived destination which makes it a daunting task to take the whole album in in one sitting. While there are a few flickering touches of Middle Eastern, South Asian and Afro-Cuban influences, mostly in the form of droning echoes during the quieter intros and softer passages of these lugubrious pieces, they are quickly forgotten as the gloomy, grinding guitars and frenetic drumming smothers them out.

The two lighter tracks, “Lamplighter” and “Euphrates” find the dirging, mope-rock sprinkled with a few more open passages that are filled with some attractive, echoing and spiraling guitars and even some clicky, electro-percussion. But it’s not enough to overcome the less than dynamic and dissonant instrumental post-rock that makes up the majority of A Pyramid For The Living.