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Pill Convenience Mexican Summer

When Pill released their squawking, berserk single Misty Eyed Porno Reader on Andrew Savage of Parquet Courts’ label Dull Tools at the beginning of last year, it was instantly impressive. Veronica Torres’ deadpan, sarcastic ones taunted, Ben Jaffe’s saxophone shrieked as a counterpoint, and it sounded implacable and new. The EP that followed was similarly accomplished, taking the sounds of late 70s New York and repurposing them into a Sonic Youth-style soup of ideas.

Unfortunately, Pill’s debut album takes these ideas and mashes them into near meaninglessness. Interest starts to wane around spooky spoken word inserts like J – E – N – O – V – A, which is parked next to seemingly improvised instrumental sections like Sex with Santa, creating an unsatisfying length of sound.

It’s not all beyond reach. Speaking Up is an affecting glockenspiel-driven protest chant against masculine power structures, and Love and Other Liquids is a languorous and disturbing stream of consciousness: “body consent, body control… chaos is swallowing your love… I am your smiley happy girl” murmurs Torres over the squeals of that omnipresent free jazz saxophone. Fetish Queen and Vagabond, though heavy-handed and occasionally inaccessibly atonal, showcase overt female sexuality, a welcome remedy to typical cock rock dick-swinging.

Though Pill mostly go off the deep end with Convenience, Torres’ lyricism adds an emotional complexity that bangs down at least a couple of markers of familiarity in the discordant haze.