electro-pop has become a polarizing genre; with a plethora of artists constantly tapping into the popular aesthetic, it’s just as likely for a project to be unceremoniously passed over as it is to be critically acclaimed. scott reitherman took this risk when he shelved his indie project, throw me the statue, to focus on writing new music as pillar point. two years of hard work and a relocation back to seattle paid off; pillar point’s self-titled debut album contains a collection of songs that meticulously explore all the nuances of synth-driven pop music.
a taste of pillar point’s dynamic and emotive capabilities was given last summer, in the form of a 7″ single containing “diamond mine” and “dreamin’.” the single’s a-side would wind up being the lead-off track on the album, with its vintage synthesizers and distorted bass lines working in tandem towards slight reckless abandon. “diamond mine” announces the presence of pillar point and showcases one facet of the project, but the album really begins to open up with “cherry.” the third track follows an energetic one-two punch, bolstered by the excellent “eyeballs,” and is comparatively subdued, even slightly sinister in tone. it’s here that reitherman’s lyrics finally reflect his music; they’re melancholy, but still contain substantial forward momentum created through narrative.
these two established components of pillar point’s aesthetic function as a metaphorical double-helix from this point forward; songs like “black hole” and “touch” are powered by insistent dance hooks that polarize their yearning and even downright sad lyrics, while slower jams like “strangers in paradise” and the aforementioned “dreamin'” place more of an emphasis on the somber words and their delivery. pillar point was born out of substantial personal turmoil which is unabashedly presented across this album, but reitherman is savvy enough to masquerade behind less depressing sounds akin to lcd soundsystem and washed out. with a groove that changes in tempo but never ceases to exist, a danceable backbone is built into the record that makes sure the listener never has the opportunity to become too depressed.
pillar point is a rare gift to the synth-pop world. by blending his knowledge of pop songwriting with an affinity for darker electronic music like suicide, reitherman has created a product that truly stands out. if you’re not immediately smitten by the analog synthesizers, the combination of pulsating beats and reitherman’s ethereal voice is sure to win you over. a nine-song track list seems almost criminal, but there’s more than enough depth and emotion to unpack and digest. pillar point is out via polyvinyl records on february 25th. don’t miss out on this one.