Potpourri of Pearls‘ We Went to Heaven has been playing down here in the basement, in the living room, at work, and various places over the past week. I’ve been trying to figure out if my initial impressions of it being amazing and weird have held up to repeated listens.
Honestly, the first time I listened to We Went to Heaven, the whole ’80s worship thing was a fun angle — especially the fact they were lifting Erasure, making this a refreshing switch from bands who’ve been swiping New Order’s sound for the better part of two decades.
Repeated plays haven’t really born out the opinions from the first listen. Frankly, with the exception of the last few tracks, the beats start to plod after a few tracks, and the repeated reliance on Autotune and various other bits of vocal pitch-shifting only demonstrate the unfortunate flatness in the vocals.
For Potpourri of Pearls to work, these falsettos need to soar, and they barely achieve the heights of a baby bird taking its first tentative flaps out of the nest. However, when they embrace their limitations, and try something different — when they get fucking weird — the band clicks.
“Under Every Ocean,” with its extraordinarily uncomfortable juxtaposition of squeaky and super-deep pitch-shifted vocals, some beats that manage to do more than thud, and just being fucking freaky, works like crazy. Is it a dance number? Oh, hell no. People’d flee the dance floor like rats on a ship, but it’s definitely far more interesting than anything that preceded it.
Followed up as it by “Hang Me,” a song that manages to work the weird in a much more listener-friendly way, with a flipping great hook and a groove that locks in and doesn’t let go, you get the feeling that Potpourri of Pearls have it in them to embrace their inner SSION and make dance music that manages to be interesting.
We Went to Heaven comes out February 11. Potpourri of Pearls will have a release party that night at Philadelphia’s Kung Fu Necktie with operners Disco Hootenany. Details are viewable here.