Spills OutAlbum | Pterodactyl (band) By Stewart Mason
Brooklyn noise-punks unveil a new commitment to melody.
After two albums of fairly standard-issue noise-punk, Brooklyn trio Pterodactyl have uncovered a previously well-hidden taste for melody on the far superior Spills Out. Less aggressive and lo-fi than before and featuring a far greater adherence to typical pop-song structures, the songs are simultaneously more direct and more complex. The album's press kit claims the three band members spent months layering experimental sounds over the basic tracks while under the influence of The Zombies' Odessey and Oracle. But while cool noises do percolate through (albeit few that bear that chamber-pop classic's direct stamp), the band never loses sight of the songs themselves: the album never sounds overstuffed or unnecessarily ornate. The bracing clatter of album highlights like "Nerds" or the appealingly disorienting opener "School Glue" fits in with contemporaries like Times New Viking or Abe Vigoda, but the recurrent use of sweet-and-sour three-part harmonies and chiming jangle-pop guitars recalls that period where mid-'80s college rockers from Husker Du and Sonic Youth to R.E.M. and Rain Parade reinterpreted psychedelia for their own post-punk generation.