I am of the semi-firm belief that pop records should not exceed 14 songs. It's an arbitrary, perhaps even too liberal number (and one that is regularly challenged by the painfully prolific amongst us), but for the most part, 14 is a safe space wherein which most songwriters can thoughtfully temper the glut of their indulgences--dumping all of the deadweight in favor of a concise, cohesive vision. With Brigadoon, the third full-length from Vancouver, B.C. quartet P:ano, we exceed our sweet spot by about eight tracks, and in doing so pretty much define the rule: It's a record of vast, blanket gluttony--a cripplingly disparate collection of pop exercises indulging seemingly every potential whim the band could muster. And yet, somehow, Brigadoon is also remarkably successful.
In its press release, the band's label seems to suggest a philosophical concept for the record revolving around the ephemeral quality of pop perfection (hence the titular allusion to the Lerner & Loewe musical), but don't be mistaken: Brigadoon is not a concept record. Or at least not as such. That's because Brigadoon is as much about itself as it is any outside notion--an experiment in its own gleeful, genre-hopping gluttony.
For a band that jumped from the hushed slowcore lullabies of their debut to the beautifully garish Broadway numbers of last year's The Den, Brigadoon isn't so much a shift as it is further amplification of frontman Nick Krgovich's pop predilections. Garnering more than a few ill-fitting comparisons to the likes of the Fiery Furnaces, Brigadoon's precociousness seems considerably more stylistically schizophrenic--an approach that recalls fellow stylistic historians like Momus and Stephen Merritt, with whom Krgovich clearly shares an affection for Tin Pan Alley, the Brill Building, and Irving Berlin. With the help of core multi-instrumentalists Larissa Loyva, Justin Kellam, and Julia Chirka, Krgovich has devised in Brigadoon a celebration of indulgence the likes of which-- even in this era of indie octets with delusions of grandeur--are rarely seen in indie pop's contemporary landscape. It's enough to make 22 tracks seem almost forgivable. Almost.