Pageantry is a three man band from Denton, Texas that describes itself as “inspirational pop-gaze,” and after several listens I can’t think of a better way to categorize their music. Their mastery of their instruments – vocals included – mixed with their progressive vibe and their introspective lyrics put these artists in a genre and league of their own…and thus their newly coined phrase truly does them justice.
The most invigorating parts of Friends of the Year are the band’s vintage, magnetizing melodies and grandiose percussion performances. I’m usually the one on staff at OVRLD given the singer-songwriter reviews because I fall more on the literary/poetry junkie side of music and can solidly analyze and pick apart their lyrics rather than evaluating the actual musical elements. But even at first listen I can’t help but highlight how struck I was by the masterful drumming and use of cymbals to create the soundscape.
As the EP went on I picked out the impeccable percussion in each track – notably in “Family Tree” where Ramon Muzquiz’s energetic and present style blends well with his ability to compose and build an atmosphere with percussion in the forefront, words in the background. Epic, insightful lyrics like, “I picture you by yourself / worried with wealth and what it drives you to / Your mind the frail ornament / clothed in ascent / one day will bleed you out,” allow me to imagine the whole band itself is a hip amalgamation of Sigur Ros and The Beatles, filtered through Beach House’s dream-pop vibe.
As a whole, “Disaster” is the best track on the album, employing a catchy beat and controlling their melodies to match the urgency their instruments create. Not to mention their spellbinding, stirring lyrics: “They turned me like all the rest into their slaves and servants / But when I asked to exist I was left apart from it” all cascading into a repetition of the word “disaster” over and over. Epic. Hypnotizing. Their sound and words seem to transcend the monotony of daily struggles and futile arguments and suggest a higher state of being where things that really matter are … well, what matters. Maybe they just made me feel high, I don’t quite know.
I have been thoroughly enchanted and transported by Pageantry and I am sincerely bummed out to only get four tracks from this first EP. And they’ll only be playing the Dallas – Fort Worth area the next few months! But after a great CD release at the Mohawk with Borrisokane and the Calm Blue Sea last Friday night, I expect they’ll continue to grow their Austin following and be back in town in no time. After all, Austin is a city that needs more inspirational pop-gaze than ever in this time of political strife and uncertainty. “Save us Pageantry! You’re our only hope.”
– Bailey Cool