VIDEO: PPR – “Unnecessary Pirate” (Live)

Remember when lazy fucktard critics used to refer to the Mars Volta as “Punk Floyd” because they thought it was witty and clever, but really the band sounded nothing like Pink Floyd, but more like a cracked-out Led Zeppelin mixed with tiny fragments of Mahavishnu Orchestra, but not nearly as good? Remember that shit? I bring it up because I’m officially dubbing Atlanta trio PPR as the true, legitimate “Punk Floyd.” Granted, in this case the two things are generally mutually exclusive; that is, PPR are not so much an amalgamation of punk and experimental classic rock psychedelia, as such a label might suggest (and as many critics would have you believe about the Mars Volta). In reality they are a band that picks liberally from a stash of musical styles—punk, surf, math rock, post-rock, metal, thrash, you name it—and bends and folds them to suit their needs.

Indeed, anyone who’s followed PPR knows that they are just as apt to engage in a bit of musical genre-mashing as they are to drop any number of random Pink Floyd covers (or even entire albums) at any given point in their set (albeit when they play them it’s not with Floyd’s studio precision and air of detached melancholy, but, rather, with a fierce sense of panic and urgency). This alone, however, does not win them the moniker. What grants them the title is the go-for-broke punk attitude and genuine air of Floydian adventurism that they inject into every one of their songs, as well as their Floyd-like penchant for carving out epic conceptual pieces that straddle the line between abstract art and good, old-fashioned, unadulterated rock excess (the stunning “Robot Destroyer” clocks in at an astonishing 20+ minutes). Guitarist Spencer Pope even sounds a bit like David Gilmour, if Gilmour’s musical diet had included a steady stream of the Minutemen, ALL, the Descendants, and, well, himself. Just listen to Pope tear into the solo section of “Unnecessary Pirate”—although the song’s winding riffs and staccato rhythms are more in keeping with the trappings of math rock or, say, Minus the Bear, the song’s centerpiece is a writhing, searing guitar eruption painted with shades of Floyd’s towering classic, “Echoes.” It’s jarring, thrilling, unpredictably potent music and just one of the many reasons that PPR is a band to watch out for in 2010.

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