Concept Unification (Relapse Records)
Reviewed by Christina Garcia, Fri., July 5, 2019
ShowBiz Pizza's animatronic Rock-afire Explosion band "turned into a nightmare" when it became Chuck E. Cheese's Munch's Make Believe Band, according to Pinkish Black's Daron Beck in a chat with the Dallas Observer. Pure marketing jargon, that traumatic Eighties pizza chain rebrand was called "concept unification" and planted the seed for the Fort Worth duo's fourth, and so far best, album. The tragically familiar PB sense of gloom does not abate, so the pall remains, but the clouds enthrall. On six core tracks, Beck's usually operatic vocal range is a controlled, haunting drone, the native Texan casting dark, low keyboard moods alongside drummer Jon Teague for a science-fiction fever dream of a doom and ambient universe. Spellbindingly slow but thrillingly complex, Concept Unification rises, falls, and relapses with three standout tracks: "Until," "Dial Tone," and "Next Solution." Two digital-only bonus songs of synth and crunchy industrial refractions beg for an online download.