Pterodactyl, Spills Out

Pterodactyl, Spills Out

I can’t believe psychedelic noise-rock band Pterodactyl are already on their third release, and I’m only just now giving them a try. The Brooklyn-based trio recently released said third album, Spills Out, in November via Brah/Jagjaguwar Records, and the album is by far one of my favorite releases from a band I was previously unfamiliar with. It’s got catchy hooks, pounding drums, a 1960s Beatles-pop sound at times, and a little bit of that fuzz-pop, surf-rock stuff I can’t seem to get enough of these days.

“School Glue,” the album’s first single, starts the album out with an incredible amount of energy that doesn’t seem to let up throughout the album’s 13 tracks. The song has one of the prettiest openers of any track I’ve heard recently and then jumps right into this amazing blend of all these incredible sounds set to some of the most beautiful vocals and harmonies out there. It’s amazing that a band can take all these various instruments and sounds and blend them in a way that somehow makes it work.

Spills Out has one of the cleanest and most noticeable bass lines of any album I’ve ever heard. I’m not one that usually dissects an album or song apart to look at each instrument played, but rather, I close my eyes and take the song in as a whole. However, the thumping bass line throughout the album is so distinct I couldn’t help but notice it right away.

Immediately after hearing the first 30 seconds of the album, I was hooked. But as “School Glue” played on, I couldn’t help but wonder how the band was going to pull off their unique sound for a whole 13 songs without causing me to lose interest. I mean, how varied can this noise-collision really get?

I must say, however, that I was pleasantly surprised. Somehow Pterodactyl managed to keep it interesting throughout the album’s 41 minutes. Towards the middle, the vibe slowed down a little, the pop tunes gave way to the more psyched-out, experimental style, and my mind began to wander a little, but as soon as track nine, “The Break,” began, I was immediately brought back to reality. Not only does this song bring all focus back to the album if you happened to zone out, but it’s probably one of its best tracks altogether.

Did I mention the band’s dive into the surf-rock genre? Put on “White Water,” and you’ll know what I’m talking about. It almost sounds like a Surfer Blood cover.

The album’s closer, “Aphasia,” begins with pounding drums and a heavy bass that almost sounds like you’re going to be blasted away by some heavy metal track. Once the familiar shrill vocals begin, however, you realize you’re safe. The track continues, loud and pounding until the very end and leaves you on just as much a high as you got from the beginning.

With only a small weak spot in the center, Spills Out is an incredible album with few flaws. It’s pop-y enough to keep you moving the entire way through, but still weird and experimental enough to keep it out of the everyday “pop” category. It’s the perfect combination. And one of my favorite new musical discoveries of 2011.

(Feature photo by Sabine Rogers.)

(Brah Records --; Jagjaguwar Recordings -- 1499 W. Second St., Bloomington, IN. 47403;; Pterodactyl -- Pterodactyl (Myspace) --
BUY ME: Amazon

Review by . Review posted Wednesday, December 14th, 2011. Filed under Features, Reviews.

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