Layers of sound and introspection
U.K. powerhouse Piroshka recently released their sophomore album, Love Drips & Gathers, a project sure to please shoegaze fans everywhere. The band took a different turn with this release compared to their 2019 album Brickbat, which guitarist/lead singer Miki Berenyi described as their “Britpop album.” Love Drips & Gathers is much more dreamy; it flows with a calm energy paired with a subtle intensity that makes this project so impactful.
“The Knife Thrower’s Daughter” is the perfect example of the way Piroshka creates a serene sense of drama in this album. The music is tranquil and soothing at first, but piercing strings enter later in the track to heighten emotion. The lyrics are the most striking element of this song and mesh with the music to pack a punch that provides an interesting contrast. “Me, I have nothing/ but I was living in a world/ where nothing felt like something/ something to behold” and “I was never your Persephone/ or a moth to a flame/ but no one ever told me/ my skin was in your game” causes the listener to really lean into the music to feel the full force of what they’re hearing. The line “I’m not like you” is repeated multiple times throughout the track. Its straightforward nature balances the other obscure lines that are scattered throughout the track to center the listener and remind them of what is being said. This track is an impressive demonstration of the musical fluency of this group.
“V.O.” is truly where Piroshka’s shoegaze sound shines the brightest. One might easily mistake this track for one by Slowdive or My Bloody Valentine. The whirl of instruments and vocals come together to build an impenetrable wall of sound that is nothing short of hypnotizing.
“Familiar” is the longest track on Love Drips & Gathers, and Piroshka utilizes every second of it in a very meaningful way. The almost 50-second intro fully captivates the listener and almost shocks the person when the vocals enter. “Help” is the very first word, already setting a clear tone for this staggering six-minute piece. “How did I get here/ far under the ground/ I blame myself,” the song continues, “something must have caused this pain,” followed by the word mercy repeated multiple times, devastating the listener. The song follows this story of pain and suffering, and by the end of its six minutes and four seconds, every feeling portrayed truly is familiar.
“Scratching At The Lid” is an upbeat, dream-pop song that serves to break up the tension of the rest of the album. With the opening lines “born in the snow of a terrible year/ survive and thrive” that then transition into “sun’s out/ step outside,” it feels like the ray of optimism that is so very needed in 2021.
“We Told You” is one of the most intense tracks on the album and could easily blend in on the soundtrack to any suspense film. It opens with a heavy, static guitar and pulsing harmonies. It features lots of other indistinct sounds that act in a sort of unsettling but intentional manner. Without any audible lyrics in this song, Pirshoka cleverly displays their talents with just instruments. Those aspects mixed with the title, “We Told You,” and the fact that this is the last track on the album leaves the listener puzzled over the question, “What is this all about?”
While the individual members of Piroshka are no strangers to the music scene, the pairing of these four on this project is explosive. They have continued to expand their sound and capabilities in a way that always keeps fans on their toes but excited for what’s next. Love Drips & Gathers is a home run, but knowing Piroshka, the best is yet to come.