March 28th, 2013 | Album reviews

Jared Pittack

Gesture Is
Office of Analogue and Digital

Sometimes getting there is half the fun, and this CD is a road trip the likes of which we’ve rarely seen since the Pink Floyd or Zappa albums of old. I don’t mean that things here are classically psychedelic (though Gangi do evoke Dark Side-era Floyd, particularly in the gospel-sounding backups on “Outside Ones,” they just as often evoke present-day indie rock sounds of bands like MGMT and Animal Collective); the grooves on these things do have bite. But this is more margin than meat, and all the better for it—before and after each song reaches its hook, we’re in for some crackle, or musique concrete radio snippets, planned with just as much care as the hooks. And just when we’re finally dancing, the beat ends, leaving us hanging as a guitar gently strums or a wispy synth tendril leaps gently into what suddenly becomes the next song. This lightness, both musically and in the almost muppety tone of Matt Gangi’s dreamlike voice, craftily obscures how dark these tunes’ lyrics are, which recreate robberies and hit home Sartre-inspired factual certitudes. John Lennon once said that “life is what happens when you’re making other plans,” and this album is a strong reminder that even when you’re not “there,” you’re there. Or, as their gospel chorus says in one of the album’s meatiest moments, “Everything that you’ve done is your life.” It’s a wake-up call, but it’s also a big sprinkling of hope.

—D. M. Collins