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Forever Existing Place by Pace House

This month I’m highlighting the indie rock group Pace House, whose members are Alabama natives. I was first introduced to them at the Birmingham Art Walk earlier this school year; their album, Forever Existing Place, has become a consistent part of my musical rotation. The band classifies its music as math-rock, which is a style characterized by odd time signatures, lots of syncopation, and vocals that take a backseat to the instrumentation.

Forever Existing Place does not stray far from this definition, beginning with the first track on the album, “Nothing Means Anything, Everything.” This song is one of my favorites from the album, but I must admit that the first time I heard it, I was little taken aback by the constant turning around of the drum beat. The more I’ve listened to it, however, the more the challenge the song posed to my ear became refreshing, especially given that most music tends to have really predictable rhythmic patterns. The vocals also serve a different purpose from what most people assume: they’re more subdued, functioning almost as another instrument instead of taking the lead.

“Circus,” another gem from this album is my favorite track; it was the first song I heard Pace House perform. Even though the track has no vocals, it works well without them. Besides, I’m always intrigued when bands take old musical tunes and turn them into something new; Pace House accomplished this here by putting a traditional circus song in the bass line and building the guitars and drums around it. The song builds really well, the spare melody at the beginning slowly diversifying along with the drum beats as the song unfolds, then slowly returning to the simplicity established at the outset.

Unlike the other songs on the album, “Such is Life” makes the vocals much more prevalent. Amid many metaphors about wasted time and guilt, the singer makes the bold assertion that life is just rough sometimes, which I think most people can relate to. Because it relies more on the vocals, the song’s instrumentation is much simpler than the other tracks, without completely forsaking the rhythmic complexity that is so present throughout the album.

Forever Existing Place is not likely a album people will find themselves listening to on the radio, but it’s really musically complex while still being accessible. I highly recommend that you give it a listen.

- Rachel Murdock '18