Bringing together this collection of 11 tracks to the forefront, electronic trio PVT, who are based in London and Sydney, showcase a nice range of abilities that highlight the talents of all members. Originally formed as a five-piece improvisational band, PVT (known as Pivot outside America) have distilled things down to a three-piece setup, with the brothers Pike, Richard and Laurence, holding down the guitars/bass and drums respectively and additional member Dave Miller providing digital orchestrations via laptop. To be perfectly honest, the suggestion of a band member wielding a laptop as an instrument might seem disconcerting to some, if not at all atypical these days. However, the band as a unit is tight on Homosapien and the machine-like grooves the band finds itself in throughout the album are more a compliment than detriment.
It might seem counterproductive to mention, but PVT show their ear for a tune is strong and are familiar with the importance of a classically structured album. Meaning, the album starts off fairly tentative with “Shiver.” The strongest track on the album, unsurprisingly, is the title track at dead-center of the album, which is sprinkled with a few good, not great tracks throughout. Though there is some pleasant racket kicked out as a whole, the title track truly stops you in your steps, showcasing an instrumentation and overall groove that just seem more muscular than the rest of the lot. The snipped, spliced and treated nature of the vocals give an interesting character but are more so enhanced by the relentless beat and meaty guitar work.
One always wonders what, for our purposes, an album with 11 “Homosapien”-level songs would be like, but at the end of the day, the songs (especially on the first side) that serve as filler on the album—the more pedestrian and conventional tracks like “Vertigo” or “Love & Defeat”—are seemingly necessary in order to lend some accessory power to the truly transcendent tracks at play.
And for what it’s worth, after “Homosapien,” the tracks that follow are for the most part more diversified and interesting, including the warped and tinny hip-hop beat of “New Morning,” the frenetic dance riff-rock of “Casual Success,” and the eccentric closing instrumental, “Ziggurat.” This latter half of the album, though it might not quite step up to the quality of the album’s best, at least provides a more dynamic palette to the listener. In this regard, Homosapien could be called a success, as it points to how much potential for interplay these three musicians have between them when they are willing to get a little wild and adventurous. The only problem is the listener might have to wait a little bit into the album before things really pick up, and in this crazy, immediate gratification-type world we live in these days, artists are not always afforded that opportunity for long.