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Pyyramids Played Dark Post-Punk Set At The Double Door

By Eric Hehr in Arts & Entertainment on Dec 11, 2011 7:00PM

Pyyramids performing at Double Door. Photo by Kevin Hartmann.

Most people would recognize Tim Nordwind from his day-job as OK GO’s bassist, but as of recently, Nordwind has been nighttiming with his side project, Pyyramids. Lead by the sultry vocals of Drea Smith (formerly of He Say She Say), Pyyramids produce dark tinted post-punk music that recalls the menacing mood of Joy Division and the lively agitation of The Cure circa Boys Don’t Cry.

Nordwind and Smith were introduced to each other through a mutual friend who thought the two would bond over their shared love of 80s new wave/post-punk music. At the time, Nordwind’s hard drive was full of fragmented instrumental tracks and incomplete beats that had been simmering for years. The two began developing their relationship via e-mail, and eventually reached a level of comfortability with each other to begin sending bits and pieces of original music. When Nordwind heard his tracks with Smith’s vocals on top, he realized they had something special.

Tim Nordwind of Pyyramids at Double Door. Photo by Kevin Hartmann.
Pyyramids released their first 6-song EP, Human Beings, this past October on Paracadute Records - the label founded by OK GO in 2010. Human Beings is a quick snapshot into the gothic underbelly of electro-pop music, fusing pulsating 808 drum machine loops with chugging bass lines and reverb-drenched vocals. One of the highlights of Human Beings is the feverish “Animal,” which sounds like the hit single that Santogold never wrote.

Due to the specific genre-orientation of Human Beings, one would be quick to assume that Pyyramids is merely a revivalist act that is capitalizing on a stylization that was much more fertile a few years back in the golden age of 80’s tinged emulation ala Interpol and Metric. However, Pyyramids hold their own on Human Beings and display enough potential to become the next Twin Shadow of hip modern synth-pop.

This past Thursday, Pyyramids headlined Double Door, playing a short set that clocked in at just over a half-hour. Granted, Pyyramids only has a 6 song EP worth of material (and one of those songs is a DMK remix). However, to make up for their limited amount of material, Pyyramids threw in a rousing cover of “Jumping Someone Else’s Train” by The Cure, which showcased Smith’s shadowy vocals (who was also wearing a Cure T-shirt during the set).

Besides Smith on vocals and Nordwind alternating between bass, guitar, and synth, a drummer, guitarist, and multi-instrumentalist also joined Pyyramids. The full lineup gave the songs much more vibrancy, and the dense, synthetic arrangements on the EP transcended into the live atmosphere with a commanding sense of effortlessness (much of Pyyramid’s video content online is just Smith and Nordwind playing acoustically).

Pyyramids performing at Double Door. Photo by Kevin Hartmann.

When Pyyramids announced that they would be playing their last song, the crowd collectively groaned and shouted for more. “Hey, I’m sorry,” Smith said, “We’re a new band. That’s all we can play.”

“These songs are literally the only songs that we can play,” Nordwind jokingly quipped in.

Pyyramids ended their set by playing EP opener, “That Ain’t Right,” and promptly headed to the merch table to meet fans and give out autographs.

So, are Pyyramids worth checking out the next time they roll through town? Hopefully Pyyramids will release more material before their next Chicago show, because the half hour set was the only negative of the night. Many people in the crowd had never heard Pyyramid’s music before, and just as the crowd was warming up to the murky new wave sounds, the band exited the stage.

To check out Pyyramid's music and receive a free download, check out their website