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From the very first beat of ‘Fall Apart’, anyone familiar with Pumarosa can tell that a transformation has taken place. With a fast drum’n’bass inspired tattoo beating urgently beneath a sawing riff and a wide, synthesised expanse, this is a dramatic evolution from the band’s more guitar-driven debut, ‘The Witch’.
Digging deeper into electronic influences ranging from Aphex Twin and Autechre to old jungle tunes, the shock of ‘Fall Apart’ mirrors the irreversible shift in Pumarosa’s own circumstances: shattering diagnoses, new beginnings and a strange optimism - the promise of what can be built only after total annihilation - all fed into a record that feels like an exhilarating affirmation of life.
Learning to ‘Fall Apart’ may not have come easily to Pumarosa, but what’s emerged in ‘Devastation’ is an album about transformation on a more cellular level. First came the chaos: on the week ‘The Witch’ was released, the band’s lead singer Isabel Muñoz-Newsome was diagnosed with cervical cancer, with the resulting surgery and recovery totally changing her relationship to her body (and how to write about it).
Inner-band relationships also evolved following the departure of bassist Henry, which further energised Pumarosa to explore new spaces in their already-expansive sound. The band took the work to producer John Congleton in LA, whose production on the likes of St Vincent and Swans helped convince them he could bring these songs and life-changing experiences into existence. They were joined in the album recording by Tool’s Justin Chancellor who, after becoming a fan of the band from their debut, provided driving bass performances in his inimitable style.
‘Devastation’ is a powerfully uplifting album that confirms Pumarosa as one of the UK’s most inventive and ambitious bands. Songs work through questions of mortality and the pain of love while revelling in sexuality: what it feels like to ‘Fall Apart’, what it takes to carry on, and what it means to be alive.
Barry says: It doesn't surprise me that Devastation has a host of guests providing exactly what i'd expect them to. That rolling driven bass sound? Yep, Justin from Tool. The gloomy, but immediate production? That's right, It's John Congleton, Swans' producer, and adding that all to Pumarosa's own brand of arty percussive electronic indie, you have the superb, heartfelt triumph that is Devastation.
1. Fall Apart
2. I See You
3. Lose Control
4. I Can Change
6. Adam’s Song
9. Into The Woods
10. I Am Lost