How many times have you been at a party, a few drinks down, and have met your new could-be best mate as you both slur your way through lists of your favourite bands? High-fives are flying as you celebrate common loves (“you’re a guitarist? I’m a drummer! We should Jaaaam”), you exchange emails or whatever, and most likely end up never seeing that person again.
Unless you’re a member of Manchester Math three-piece Pfaff, who actually managed to meet up a year later and form a band. The result of which is a fantastic EP of mathy tunes titled p[retty] f[lippin] a[wesome] f[rickin] f[riends].
RELEASE DATE: 13 September 2016 LABEL: Self-released
There’s something special about mates getting together to drink beer and write songs. The camaraderie provided by a couple of brews can be one of the great things in this life, it dissolves inhibition and provokes creativity, and that’s exactly what has happened for Pfaff. They’ve found an environment conducive to expression, and since their rehearsal space just so happens to be a brewery, I can only assume there’s big things to come.
The EP begins with a soothing atmospheric buildup into a song called Gary; quite obviously named after the goat of YouTube fame, and an apt tribute. While nice, Gary sounds like a band testing the water until they dive into The0neWhereJ0eyPunchesRachelinTheThr0at; which, though speculative at first, evolves into a fantastic extended groove guaranteed to get your head moving in a weird kind of circular nod.
Third track p0rt4blew4ter is the climax with another huge groove, sprinkled with brilliant extra-meter fills. It’s easily the best song on the EP and really shows the capability Pfaff has to write a top-notch tune. The other tracks are great, but p0rt4blew4ter really feels like a cohesive piece from start to finish.
P[retty] f[lippin] a[wesome] f[rickin] f[riends], was recorded live in one day and the result is impressively tight for a first recording. There’s enough room-sound and live feel to make you feel a part of the experience, but just enough gloss to sound good through headphones. There’s some cute, almost comedic video game guitar riffs that contrast well with the more serious sonic offerings, giving the EP a unique light-hearted feel.
Where the EP slightly suffers is in its compositional flow. The ambition to make each section interesting is obvious but at the cost of the overall work; ideas feel stacked one after the other and changes can be sharp. This can be summed up as a genre trait, but sometimes results in a disjointed listen. Thankfully for Pfaff the fault is rare and easily forgiven as a new band finding their flow.
I think p[retty] f[lippin] a[wesome] f[rickin] f[riends] is an inventive, fun first release, by a band destined for great things. If they can keep growing together and keep writing, the next release is going to be something special.