REVIEW: Pretend – “Tapestry’d Life”


Pretend are making a lot of noise with this record. People overwhelmingly love it. I saw a lot of people were calling it the album of the year on the day it came out. I don’t know how to really approach it though. Pretend is a hell of a band. They’re technically proficient, they’re really down to experiment with sound, but maybe not the band for me. Maybe I’m missing something. I don’t know.

Tapestry’d Life is a good, if inaccessible, record. It’s full of mathy instrumentation and constantly shifting time signatures. There are points where it can get a little unnerving and almost uncomfortable to listen to. This is only made more noticeable by the fact that eight of the nine songs clock in at over seven minutes each. Four of which are pushing 10 minutes, plus or minus. It’s a bit like listening to Slint or US Maple, but the songs just keep on pushing. Which is fine, y’know. It’s good, but definitely not for everyone.

Pretend have heaps of talent, and they know how to keep listeners on their toes. Things can get a bit disjointed, but an underlying pop sensibility keeps it a bit reigned in. You hear it all over the place, but especially when the guitar gets delicate kind of twinkly. It’s a post-rock record that doesn’t lean so heavily on being “cinematic” or huge in scope. But songs like “Blessings” and “Physical Flight” still sound huge in their own way. The music ebbs and flows, the production is right on the money, and everything just sounds good.

Does it live up to the hype though? I don’t know. Probably not. Not for me anyway. There’s a gang of people who love this record, and I totally get it. It’s well made, it’s engaging, and Pretend are definitely on top of their game. I just don’t know what kind of replay value this is going to have for me. Maybe I’m just sleeping on it like a dummy. Who knows? It’s a interesting listen either way.

Topshelf Records
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