INK19 November 1997
The adventurous will be rewarded by this challenging Atlanta-based experimental rock combo. Pineal Ventana miraculously manage to walk a knife's edge, managing to tweak sensibilities yet maintaining just enough comfort level that the listener feels compelled to stick with it, anticipating but generally surprised by what happens next. Often "art rock" comes off as pretentious and geeky when it's downright unpalatable. This is not the case here. Pineal Ventana are cerebral and unconventional in a dangerous and edgy way, much like early Siouxie and the Banshees or Joy Division. Some of the percussion, which is very tribal and aggressive, sounds like it's performed using unconventional objects. This, along with the heavily distorted guitars, gives their sound a somewhat abrasive and yet not unappealing metallic tone. The horn arrangements, which at first seem somewhat chaotic, reveal themselves with further listening to be quite accomplished and are the listener;s first clue that something quite special is going on here. There are a few free-form improvisational lapses that may lose the casual listener but for those willing to invest, the payoff is handsome. Overall, an extremely interesting, first-rate release worthy of some serious attention. Highly recommended. -Michael Crown.
A&A #142 reviews
AAAA 1/2 rating
Pounding, throbbing stuff built around drones. If you really want to try and find any conscious method of song construction at all. I'm not sure if there is one, myself. Any technical analysis is bound to find deficiencies, so I'll stick to my visceral reaction, which took this album as a serious gut check. Snatches of sounds that remind me of Iceburn, Neurosis and Morsel. And yet, that explanation falls flat, too. Pineal Ventana is utterly and completely unique. And so, in the end, I'm left to try and describe an utterly indescribable band. You gotta listen, but let me warn you: Don't run away too fast. If you give the music a few moments to settle, certain things will be made clear. This is great music for meditation (the drums keep constant time); you can lock in on one sound and let your mind follow all the other paths. Completely free and beautiful. Who needs structure, anyway?
Oozing from the musical wound of Atlanta, Georgia comes Pineal Ventana. A mish-mosh of percussion, samples, saxophones, shrieks and synthesizers, Pineal Ventana preaches a frontal audio-physical assault on audiences with its alarming stage presence amalgamating hints of Sleep Chamber and Borbetomagus. A delicate noise induced headache is your guide through "Cities in Linger" while tracks such as "Waterlogged" and "Man Lies" have more of a melodic structure to them -- accessible, but we re not talking whistle-while-you-work here, kids. Vocalist Clara Clamp truly knows how to elicit disturbing emotions with her tenor to soprano vocal splurges. In case she doesn t finish you off, Foy s tribal drumming will easily cudgel you to the ground. Leave it to the rest of the band to drive the euphemistic musical stake through your chest. The REAL question is who s more fucked up -- you, for listening to this CD, or the band for devising such a fiendishly adroit product, definitely worth your cash at your local record shop.
Review by Andrew Magilow
I've been told -- quite emphatically -- that the KKK doesn't actually burn crosses. No, they light crosses. It's important to keep this in mind as you examine the cover of the new Pineal Ventana CD Breathe As You Might, for which somebody went to a lot of trouble to bur-- er, I mean, to light -- a giant wooden version of the band's the-Artist-Formerly-Known-as-a-Backwards-Question-Mark logo. Even more enlightening are vocalist Clara Clamp's drawings in the enclosed booklet, which look like some crazed combination of Neanderthal cave paintings, chalk outlines made by the Men in Black, and obscene graffiti from the restroom walls at Dottie's. No other visual style could possibly do justice to the music on this recording, which ranges from the odd hammering, underwatery vocals and R&B horns of "Spindlewick" to the supernatural bleeps of Hell's own video arcade on "R" and the biomechanical wheezing of "Intrinsic." Post-apocalyptic drums pound through "Waterlogged," and brisk percussion gives a sense of flight to avoid the flesh-eating zombies that rise during "Dellamorte." "Spatial Consequence" begins slowly and ominously, with Smoke-like horns, but after several minutes the music whips to a frenzy as Clamp wails, "Take her down! Tie her up!" A similar cry of "Torn and bloody!" begins the epic "Deadlands" -- over eight minutes of otherworldly junkie-jive guitar, maddening tribal drums and eerie group chants. Clamp's vocals on "Leyner Notes" sound like they were phoned in from Innsmouth or Dunwich, where shuffling misshapen passersby thrill to lyrics such as, "Stunted circus growth Drowns in a lake of semen Staining his daffodil panties Things keep twisting Into phallicular fountains Falling from the sky." Mitchell Foy provides desperate, alarmed vocals over music-for-the-end- of-civilization on "Parched Mind," crying out, "Steel parts awake the child of my associate: Fermenting gun!" Grounded in more familiar reality, "Shauna Doll" features a long sound bite from a TV documentary about suicidal XXX film star Shauna Grant. The rhythm section on "Cities in Linger" sounds like cattle cars rattling toward Auschwitz, and the song itself could be the theme for Down With People. Unlike Pineal Ventana's previous CD, Living Soil, there's nothing as accessible as "Uzi Does It" here -- just sprawling soundscapes of torture, narcotics, defecation and general dementia. In fact, it's difficult to envision the fans for whom this record was intended. Most of them, I suspect, have either been burnt at the stake, hanged at Nuremberg, or locked up for the Tate-LaBianca murders. Or, perhaps, for lighting something. -- Gregory Nicoll