The Pseudo Six
w/ The Mines, Shelterbelt
Wed Oct 17
As T.S. Eliot predicted, the world will probably end quietly, so it's possible the correlating insurrection will be quiet as well. You'll be reminded of this when you listen to the lyrics of The Pseudo Six; they sing in soft vibratos and pleading warbles, but they're the warbles of the discontented, brewing with the fire of truth underneath their polite demeanor. Consisting of Tim Perry (vocals, acoustic guitar), Holy Sons' Emil Snizek (vocals, electric/slide guitar), and a rotating drummer (for this show, Dan Currin), the Portland trio plays subdued, rhythmic music that occasionally bursts open into raw, adamant guitar strumming and vehemently projected vocals.
Unlike many similar groups whose songs are relatively vocal-based and patiently written, the band's sound works partially because their lyrics are not completely innocuous. Instead of the predictably straightforward, "I have a buddy who lives down in Sacto," Neil Young-style line, they sing lyrics that are considerably more intelligent or esoteric. Perry, the primary songwriter, says he struggles with writing interesting lyrics, however. "It's that old cliché--'How do you channel everything into one cohesive statement without sounding stupid?'" he says. "You can't just come out and say, you know, 'I hate my life today, nobody understands me.' But it's a really hard thing to do. It's just my own little way of explaining exactly how I feel, but sounding very ambiguous--just like anybody else. But at the same time, the hovering critic is there telling me it sounds too pretentious, or too asinine."
The Pseudo Six harmonizes beautifully, in unusual minor chords. Perry's voice is rich and low, with a quiver that sounds vaguely '30s radio-era, and Snizek belts out falsetto crackles as if he's gasping for air. This creates energy in their music. "I like [melodies that are] creepy and sad sad and kind of lost," explains Perry. "I guess that's that thing inside me that makes me want to create."
I think they sound like they're playing labor songs for the current era--labor songs affected by cynicism and post-ironic worry. But the Pseudo Six still sounds hopeful enough that they're not afraid to look you in the eye and confront you with an honest statement. Their firm wisdom, though it is mostly quiet and subtle, gives their music power.