Full of subsonic bass rumble and glitchy polyrhythms, Growing’s debut for Vice finds the group fully transformed from their modest beginnings as a band using guitar crunch to make ambient soundscapes into a fully focused (and completely trippy) electronic force. Pumps! picks up where 2008’s All the Way left off in a wash of a drone and noise, and adds forceful beats throughout. Driven by a pulsing kick, Growing’s palette of fuzz shards, goopy gurgles, and vacuum suction is transformed from whispers in the ether to block-rocking beats from a Martian club.
For a pair of bros most frequently labeled as sound sculptors or colossal drone makers, Growing's Joe Denardo and Kevin Doria have rarely shied from beats or rhythms. Granted, the rhythmic play in their work might not have always been the focus, but, live and on record, the duo's use of stereo effects has long given their tracks a tidal, back-and-forth motion. Since leaving Kranky in 2004, Growing have avoided flatlining hums altogether.
There are a helluva lot of toys out there these days for the curious musician, and it's good to know bands like Growing are playing with them. Pumps was constructed with a mess of effects and instruments that aren't immediately identifiable as modern or vintage, and sees the Brooklyn trio officially leaving behind the guitar drone (at least for the time being) in favor of glitchy electronic explorations more in line with recent work of such artists as Black Dice than the doomy soundscapes of Sunn O))) and their ilk. .
Transitional albums – you know them, and you even love some of them. Flirting with new sounds and styles while maintaining the artist’s original voice, sometimes they’re only recognizable long after the fact, and other times they give the feeling of something awesome just around the corner. Dismissing an album as transitional is a common strategy pulled from a critic’s bag of easy tricks.