“Cool” begins with a march, which Pylon’s propeller finely chops, letting the chips fly and fall where they may. No hurry. But nothing too laid-back, either—not in a small Southern town, where everybody who isn’t dead is aware that too-easy F.U.N. is as boring as everything else. So, despite not being as adaptable as Athens, Georgian neighbors and admirers like the B-52s and R.E.M., Pylon were and are practical, in their own way. Their lyrics have been called surreal, but that’s because vocalist (and registered nurse) Vanessa Briscoe often murmurs her way into a surgical strike, around which Michael Lanchowski’s bass, Curtis Crowe’s drums, and Randy Bewley’s guitar channel a sinuous, sensuous, but not anesthetic groove, on Gyrate Plus. That’s Pylon’s 1980 debut album, with the earlier single tracks (“Cool” and the equally voracious “Dub”) now opening Gyrate‘s first appearance on CD. They sneak up on “Danger,” which has often infiltrated DFA/LCD Soundsystem co-founder James Murphy’s DJ sets. A few tracks here are too arty-mundane, which can happen when you’re flying DIY through (yet) another date with “Gravity,” like this brainy slam band did around the dawn of the big ’80s, briefly in the ’90s, and several times since ’04. But, as Vanessa growls on the previously unreleased “Functionality”: “There’s something to be written on the air,” always, and never much room for typos.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 9, 2007