ALBUM REVIEW – “Keep You” by Pianos Become the Teeth

Keep You is not The Lack Long After, it will never be The Lack Long After, it does not try to be The Lack Long After and it is absolutely a worthy successor to The Lack Long After. Any comparisons between the two records are moot, stupid and will fall short.

Lack was an album with a thousand different moments where you just had to stop, pause the song and wonder what just happened. It was a final exorcism of Kyle Durfey’s demons, and was written to be a truly special album, flawless and untouchable. No Pianos fan will dare call Lack anything less than a masterpiece.

If Lack was pure catharsis, Keep You is much more nostalgic, much more calm and haunting. It’s much less aggressive, much more low key, and seems meant to stew and flow rather than explode. Even the higher intensity moments are nowhere close to being overbearing, and instead serve as subtle changes to the atmosphere. Lack was an atomic bomb, Keep You is Summer rain at 10 PM.

Many of the songs follow a “start very quiet, then get kind of loud toward the end” formula, which can seem repetitive and, yes formulaic at times. The first listen of Keep can leave an awkward taste in the mouth, as the songs don’t scream and jump out like PBTT’s entire discography (enough with constant references to Lack). Don’t lose faith, repeat the record, let the songs sink in, because there is so much to enjoy once you get used to the change in pace.

Not every screamo/melodic hardcore/post hardcore/whatever/who cares band needs to rage and swell to soaring heights and destroy everything in sight. It’s really refreshing to see PBTT take the edge off of themselves and take the liberty to write songs that reflect what they want to sound like in the moment, and reflect how they’ve grown as a band. There are gobs of memorably beautiful moments throughout Keep You, plenty of points where the band opens up and the soundscape becomes a tidal force, slow and gradual and eventually impactful. This is an album to sway to and hum along with, with just as many sweet and tender moments as echoing somber ones.

Not at all regrettably, there is little else to say about Keep You, as the record speaks for itself. It’s quiet, more monotone, more soothing, and more subtle than anything PBTT has ever done, and that’s totally ok. Go pick it up and drop it in during a long drive at stupid early hours of the morning, or after a hard day at work, it’ll fit right in.

9/10

Max Robison

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