PYYRAMIDS From the mystical, unGoogleable beyond comes PYYRAMIDS, a new collaboration by OK Go's Tim Nordwind and singer Drea Smith. Living in the dark, atmospheric grotto midway between the dance floor and the mopey teenage bedroom of the mind, PYYRAMIDS' six-song debut will be available on October 31st from Paracadute, the full-service 21st century record label OK Go founded on their 2010 parting from Capitol. Befitting the band's cross of banging beats with underground pop, PYYRAMIDS arrives on that most idiosyncratic of formats, 10-inch vinyl.
PYYRAMIDS comes as a reinvention for both players and steps into new, wild territory. For Nordwind, the guy with the bass, beard, and glasses in OK Go, PYYRAMIDS' expansive textures find him far from the bright indie pop and all-inclusive videos that have made OK Go one of the most recognizable - not to mention most-watched - acts of the digital age.
(Though that doesn't mean PYYRAMIDS won't try their hand at videos.) For Smith, formerly the saucy half of the electro-pop duo He Say She Say - and a stint with Lupe Fiasco - it brings her songwriting into a place of bold new maturity without sacrificing the force of her singular presence. For both, it is an unlikely partnership entirely befitting of the new age.
Connected by a mutual friend in Chicago two years ago, the pair struck up an email correspondence that, by the magic of the internet, soon transformed into a small torrent of music. Bonding first over dark British pop from the early '80s like The Smiths and Joy Division, and stranger more modern fare like Micachu and the Shapes, Nordwind and Smith were natural collaborators. An inveterate home recorder with piles of songs, beats, and sketches leftover from OK Go writing work, his People project, and a fairly unceasing productivity, Nordwind first passed along beats that Smith layered vocals over in GarageBand. Only meeting in person for the first time months later, the cyber collaboration transformed when Smith visited Nordwind in Los Angeles, where they polished off a half-dozen tracks working face-to-face, and where Smith was soon to relocate to work on PYYRAMIDS and other projects.
In addition to the four-song vinyl, Human Beings comes in digital form, too, featuring a remix of "Human Beings" by Nordwind's OK Go bandmate Dan Konopka (as DMK.) Between the alt-rock tensions of "That Ain't Right" and heavy riffage and cooing chorus of "Animal," PYYRAMIDS' beyond is an inviting one indeed, a long-promised map back to the buried valley of the dance-rock hook.