Review: Project Pitchfork – Black

Project Pitchfork’s run in the biz had a major hand in uniting darkwave and industrial music, bridging the gap and helping us understand that we’re not so different after all.

Their tireless work ethic brings us to this latest installment in their storied career, their 14th studio album. Renowned for album titles that are often esoteric in nature, the title Black seems out of character. Does the music follow suite?

Not so much. “Pitch-Black” is indicative of boilerplate Pitchfork tropes, at least in the spirit of their last few studio albums: huge dark electro leads, beats, and the cavernous growls of mastermind Peter Spilles. Since 2009’s Dream, Tiresias!, their music has been more in line with four-on-the-floor club oontz, but not without the ever-present mystique of their early work. Black is replete with those dense club synths, but not without a gorgeous, melodious aura that is darkly symphonic in nature. Songs like “The Circus” and the aforementioned “Pitch-Black” are lyrical commentaries of societal norms and the status quo. “Contract” is staring a doomed future in the face, fighting against it defiantly and against all odds. Lead single “Rain” is sweeping and majestic in all the ways early records like IO and Alpha Omega were, but in modern Pitchfork style.

The resemblance to what other clubby industrial band have been churning out lately is undeniable. The thick walls of synths and beats are ever-present, but in contrast to the hard dance and rave undertones that those other acts boast, Project Pitchfork still manage to create tunes that are regal and airy, vast and powerful. The blueprint for DJ culture is still kept out of their music, and they’re all the better for it. Even after over 20 years, over a dozen albums, and everything but the kitchen sink applied to their music, Pitchfork’s ambitions haven’t stifled at all.

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