PYLON – ” Gyrate “

Posted: November 6, 2020 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

gyrate (2020 reissue)

And how about Pylon? You remember Pylon, right? Oh lord. Pull up a chair… While the B52’s were the first to break the seal on Athens, Georgia as a hotbed of artistic intrigue in the late-70’s, and R.E.M. would become the cities most famous sons, Pylon were arguably the city’s favourite band and deepest influence on their emerging peers.

In the late 1970’s Athens, Georgia was buzzing with a raw but sophisticated music scene.

The turn of the decade began producing new sounds from bands like the B-52’s, R.E.M. and art-rock luminaries, Pylon. before they were a band, Pylon were art-school students at the university of Georgia: four kids invigorated by big ideas about art and creativity and society. in 1980 the band released its first record, “Gyrate” and began touring across the country in support of the release. they would soon develop a following across the country. shortly thereafter, Pylon went back into the studio. they gleefully pulled their songs apart and put them back together in new shapes, revealing a band of self-proclaimed non-musicians who had transformed gradually but noticeably into real ones. Now more than three decades later, both studio recordings have been remastered from their original audio tapes and are set for release on New West Records

Athens, Georgia may have been the breeding ground for the B-52’s, but in 1978 it was, for the most part, still a sleepy college town with few places for bands to play when Pylon began to cohere. (It’s worth remembering that the B-52’s had almost exclusively played house parties before moving to New York and becoming a sensation.) Like more than a few great and original groups, Pylon came together without much of a support system or many first hand influences; they were young people creating their own art and making their own fun with it. While it wasn’t their first release (the epochal “Cool”/”Dub” single preceded it by seven months), 1980’s Gyrate caught Pylon on tape when they were still clearly fascinated with their own creative possibilities, though they were tight enough to sound elemental and straightforward rather than amateurish. The skittery chiming of Randy Bewley’s guitar and the expressive whisper-to-a-scream report of Vanessa Briscoe Hay’s vocals give this music plenty of brains, and the lean, minimal rhythms generated by bassist Michael Lachowski and drummer Curtis Crowe lend it all a strong, muscular body; at a time when America was just falling out of love with disco, Gyrate was a reminder that there was more than one way to make music for dancing. As smart as this music was, it was also fun and engaging in a way that many of their peers and followers were not.

Gyrate is full of joy and subtle, surreal wit, and if it sometimes sounds like the work of arty grad students, they’re still grad students who want to cut loose and get in the groove, and that’s exactly what they do. Gyrate is a classic touchstone of the American underground scene of the ’80s, and it sounds as fresh, challenging, and exciting as the day it was released. R.E.M. would become a lot more famous, but Pylon were the band that made the world aware that there was something remarkable happening in Athens, and this was their first triumph.

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