Join Riverfront Times Press Club. Because No News is Bad News.

John Vanderslice 

Pixel Revolt (Barsuk)

John Vanderslice has always brought a cinematic flair to the staid storytelling techniques employed by so many indie singer-songwriters. His best songs double as short films, with enough of a storyline to get you hooked and enough mystery to keep you guessing. Pixel Revolt's strongest tracks use these juxtapositions to great effect. "Exodus Damage" segues from reports of the 9/11 attacks to a chorus that references video-game craze Dance Dance Revolution, mixing political worries and pop-culture detritus into the album's strongest song. But Revolt is hardly the digital explosion that its title suggests. Whereas last year's Cellar Door trafficked in splintering distortion and serpentine drum programming, JV's latest tells its story in an unadorned style, with simple piano and reverberating vibraphones adding to the spacious sound. While this is certainly a down-tempo record, the allegiance to melody and classic pop choruses is in full view toward the end of the album. Only Vanderslice can turn something clinical into a full-hearted love song: "CRC 7173, Affectionately" sounds like a mash note to -- or from -- a graphing calculator.

Riverfront Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of St. Louis and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep St. Louis' true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

September 30, 2020

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2020 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation