So, upon listening to First Timer, the debut album by Pizzagirl, I have to remind myself that it was made in the last year. It sounds so shockingly like something out of the mid 1980’s, that a passive listen will inevitably be mistaken for something Cutting Crew or Richard Marx turned out back then that somehow exclusively made its way to the overhead speakers at the dentist office. This is the highest possible compliment I can give.
“Ball’s Gonna Keep on Rollin’,” proves this immediately. With dancing, keys and a shuffling synth, it feels like a great lost hit of 1987. It’s followed by “Daytrip,” complete with a lilting melody - it’s one Johnny Marr guitar riff away from sounding like a late period Smiths song. “Body Biology” is purely new wave - a skittering drum beat and angular guitars - you really can’t resist thinking you’re being duped by The Human League under a different name.
As the record progresses, there are hints that the record has a modern-day equivalent. Take “library”, a drippy mid-tempo number that is reminiscent of one of The 1975’s latest singles. Both artists are unashamed of borrowing the sounds of yesteryear, but Pizzagirl throws a different ingredient in the mix - a little bit of barroom piano which adds an unusual heft to the cotton candy compositions that precede it.
‘Thispartysux’ feels half Joy Division/half New Order, taking the jarring rhythms of the former and bridging them with the wicked pop sensibility of the latter. It’s these inventions within the form that make this debut so irresistibly listenable.
This debut by Pizzagirl is such a loving homage to these era specific songs, you can’t help but feel joy when listening to them. They feel immediately familiar even though you’ve never heard them before. It’d be easy to assume that was the point. But the farther you travel back in time with, there are subtle hints that it’s a record rooted in the present. What’s old is new, right? Sometimes you strike the right chord, or in this case - synth patch - that turns those sounds you know by heart into something heart stopping. That’s First Timer.
- Brendan Hilliard, Obviate Media
This review was written by Brendan Hilliard, of Obviate Media. Obviate Media is a Chicago-based blog covering music and pop culture. Check them out, here: Obviate Media.