[PACIFIC NORTHWEST BRITPOP] One of the bona fides touted by the trio Pictorials in its bio is how the head of Badman Recording Co., Dylan Magierek, asked the band to record an EP after the group had been together only four months. This is supposed to read as a testament to how fully formed the group was right out of the gate—a localized version of Creation Records head Alan McGee jumping onstage to sign Oasis after hearing one song.
But hearing the trio's debut release, it seems more like a band being encouraged to skip steps in its maturity process. As pleasant and poppy as these four tracks are, not one song on Learning feels fully baked.
Oasis is actually a great example to use in relation to Pictorials, as each group wears its respective influences proudly. For Pictorials, it is a love of cult U.K. pop icons. "Mystery Matter" ably apes the soulful jangle of '80s Scottish band Orange Juice, and EP closer "Movement" sidles from an early synth-pop sound into a fist-pumping, Suede-style rocker.
Trouble is, these fine homages are undercut by the band and its producer. They decided to lay down the tracks as quickly as possible, letting flubbed drum fills and weak-kneed vocal performances slide by unchecked. For a demo, that might be excusable, but not for a legitimate release with PR muscle behind it.
There's definitely something to Pictorials. There is a melodic power hiding under the rough-hewn surface of this debut EP. But it's a force the band needed much more time to hone before rushing to stake its small claim in the overpopulated world of modern music.
SEE IT: Pictorials play Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison St., on Wednesday, Sept. 19, as part of Labelmates Local Label Record Fair and Showcase. 8 pm. Free. 21+.