What happens when the best album of the year is unclassifiable?

This is the question that Pelts has been asking for the past year or two. I’ve had the privilege of watching the Pelts project from the earlier days, playing art gallery shows and forming a friendship with frontperson Jim Swill. He even did the insert for the Crowhurst album II.

Swill is a legend in his own right, a founding member of Realicide who’s had his zines published by Disinformation and has exhibited his work in prominent venues in LA and around the world. My mental image of Swill will be emerging from a sea of bodies at Low End Theory, ripped 70’s polyester shirt covered in sweat.


Henry Sugar (after the Roald Dahl book), or as I know him, Ben – has always been the mad scientist in the Pelts equation. My mental image of him will always be down in a basement illuminated by the glowing pads of an MPC – quietly present and engrossed in creation.


Together they are Pelts. Beyond that though, it’s hard to describe without a boatload of meaningless imagery or cliches.

I guess this is where I could segue into why this is an album you should give a shit about, right? Because there are literally days worth of electronic music being regurgitated at you every single week, most of which touts itself as important – seems kinda hyperbolic to just say it.

Remember that first time you heard “Are You That Somebody” by Aaliyah? That beat that was produced by Timberland that had the baby laugh as percussion? Yeah, that was fucked up. Just like that one time MIA sampled ‘Ghost Rider’ by Suicide on an album that her ex described as sounding like Skinny Puppy? Occasionally someone goes so far with a wild idea and executes it with such severe conviction that it lands hard.

They Say is an album that is filled with those moments. It’s got about much logic as an instrumental version of Yeezus in it’s composition. Songs like “Sex With Strangers” that have the soulful pop sensibilities and surreal synth atmospheres of an early composition by The Knife are followed immediately by songs like “Nothing Is Never Enough” that have the same kind of synth-driven punk aggression you’d hear on a L.O.T.I.O.N. record. All the while, the album stays coherent.


The only problem with albums like albums like this is that they’re not heard enough. If I made an album like this, I wouldn’t know where to send it because there’s truly nothing like it. So it’s no surprise, but it’s a damn shame that there’s no vinyl or CD of this out. Just as much as the pulsing, alien rhythms of “Eyes In The Sky” deserve to be blasted from every car window, the 90’s house percussion and choirs that lead “Better War” through a good stereo system.

A resounding message can be ascertained from the overall attitude behind the whole Pelts package – from the video for “Crush Me” to the style in which the meticulously produced They Say was so nonchalantly dropped (there were no press releases, even this review was unsolicited) – they don’t give a fuck. Not about your taste, not about what anything else out sounds like, not really if you’ll listen to the record. It’s not about anything at all but moving forward.


Check out the video for “Crush Me” below, which I get my (fake) dick cut off in. Then check out the whole album They Say on Spotify or Bandcamp and for the love of fuck – if you own a label get in contact with them to put this out properly. It DESERVES it.

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