Piñata

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Four years have passed since Volcano’s breakthrough album Paperwork hit the shelves, up-to and around that time the band were being hailed as “fearless”, “forward-looking, genre-eschewing” and most impressively – “the soundtrack to the bible”. With grandiose plaudits like this being thrown at a band it would perhaps be easy for the critical hype to go to their heads, resulting in some self indulgent mess of a third album. In actual fact, they seem to have done the opposite, streamlining their sweeping elongated sound into a punchier package of oddball pop. The change could perhaps be compared to Akron/Family’s journey from their occasionally “difficult” early recordings to the arguably more refined, borderline commercial sound found on their later output (for better or for worse). Certainly, neither band are going to be troubling the airwaves of mainstream radio anytime soon but in Piñata you can hear the faint strains of approachability amongst the DFA bleeps, post-punk wails and afro drum patterns. There are also moments of dubious theatrical camp on “Fighter” and “St. Mary of Nazareth” which is again, quite a departure from their earlier output. With an album of such random invention there are always going to be sections which aren’t to everyone’s taste (for me it’s the annoyingly repetitive “Supply and Demand” which sounds a bit too emo(tional) for a song which takes it’s name from a term of economics) but that’s the price you pay on a topsy-turvy ride like this. Not quite “the soundtrack to the bible”, but where’s the fun in that?