(2010, Doubtful Sounds)
RIYL = Black Pus, The Hospitals, The Goslings
How can I do proper justice to the man, Stefan Neville, and his exceptionally illustrious back catalog under the Pumice guise? It’s been a pretty pitch-perfect ride thus far, I must admit (though, often the pitch has been bent, mangled, twisted, screwed, chopped, tossed and burnt to a fine crisp in the process). Under the Pumice moniker, I would go so far as to say that the Neville is the gold standard for lo-fi music – no one does it better. So, it is both a glorious and a bit depressing that on this most recent Pumice 10” are the last recordings Mr. Neville recorded on his kingly 8-track. That being said, this release puts the classic genius of Pumice on glorious display. Side one offers us on “Fool fool fool moon,” ten minutes of grueling, shloptastic, punk-drone muck at a disjointed, grin-inducingly-lethargic pace, Neville’s kiwi-mumble permeating ceiling of the cut. It's prime evidence of Neville’s ability stretch out and pepper a track like no one’s business. Side two opens with a pillow of deep, bellowing bass heaviness, distorted guitar theatrics and echoing vocals that seem to be seeping in from an adjoining apartment. A concise pop-lengthed slab of lo-fi noise grumble in advance of the “pretty love song;” the strummy, jangle petter; the high-aspring closer; “The Screaming Heap.” I have no doubts about Pumice continuing to produce blitzed out masterpieces in the future – it seems that’s all Neville is able to conjure – but still, as a swan song to Pumice’s 8-track, the device that has brought as so much wonder and grit these past few years, this Doubtful Sounds 10” is simply immaculate.
Pumice on MySpace
on Doubtful Sounds