Following a five-year hiatus, Philly duo Pattern Is Movement returns this fall with a new round of recordings. First there was that D’Angelo cover that dropped the other week, and while the band was always renowned for its smooth avant-garde interpretations of R&B, hip-hop and pop songs, their original material has always sat better with me. So it was good to hear some new PiM-proper showcased this afternoon when Stereogum rolled out “Suckling,” a midtempo, alluringly textured and definitely puzzling song.
I say “puzzling” because it’s not as accessible as some of the straight-up bangers on the new album Pattern is releasing on Hometapes next year, and thus a surprising selection for the single – between the all-new-material set at Johnny Brenda’s last December and the “album viewing party” at PhilaMOCA in April, we heard songs that will tear proverbial roofs off. But it’s puzzling also because, like Pattern Is Movement’s best moments, it embodies a mystique that invites study, close listening, interpretation and decoding. It’s like the Pan’s Labyrinth of pop music – or, no, maybe not, that’s kind of a disturbing analogy – but in any case, it’s an riddle wrapped in an enigma wrapped in stereo beats, horn sections, multiform harmonies and a honey-dipped wafer that’s nesting its way into our auditory canal.
Listen to Pattern is Movement’s “Suckling” via Stereogum here; below, watch them perform it at Johnny Brenda’s via Philly concert documentarian Pilgrim’s Progress. The band plays Union Transfer on October 24th; get tickets and more info on the show at the XPN Concert Calendar.