Those who began their love affair with local band Food Pyramid upon the arrival of their first cassette in 2010 have most likely never fallen back in their admiration levels. Our first introduction, the 18-and-a-half-minute sprawl of “The Sundance Kid,” seemed like it would be a tedious endeavor to invest in, but the blend of krautrock and electronica proved ultimately inspiring; I credit them with igniting a whole new wave of experimentation in the Twin Cities music community even if they still drift mysteriously under the many bands who have garnered more attention.
That’s unfortunate. For the past two years, Food Pyramid has gathered accolades across numerous national and international press outlets, all while being looked upon in alternate senses of awe and disbelief by Minnesotans. Maybe it’s the live shows; after all, they tend to drift into improvisation or offer little hook for the casual gig-goer who is looking to latch onto a signature song. For many, that’s the charm. For others, it’s a point of dumbfounded confusion.
Either way, Food Pyramid has been among our most prolific bands, releasing material steadily (five albums since their inception) and often already with another record in the bag, as is the case with their proper debut Mango Sunrise. For junkies of this niche of music, it’s sonic bliss — a collection of nine tracks that take the best points of each their previous records and makes it a prime fit for club night. The guys of Food Pyramid would probably hate their music to be defined in any set genre. Indeed there really is no way to throw a label on anything they do, try as I might to give people a sense of direction.
I would suspect that this newest release from Food Pyramid is the one that will gather the largest audience. It’s accessible for those who can’t sit through a 10-minute song (no matter how well it flows), and yet still challenges people to take notice of the diminutive changes that occur during the course of a song.
“Oh Mercy” is a rare track for Food Pyramid, one which features vocals and offers new possibilities to open up the song even further. Add in an incredible bout of dueling saxophones and it pulses with life that many bands never match. I still can’t figure out if everything is closely calculated to fit in place or if Food Pyramid merely goes with the flow that they are feeling in the moment. It’s most likely a healthy mixture of both, which is why this band consistently surprises listeners and avoids expected repetition. Their dates down in Austin for South By Southwest may send this trio and their rotating cast of guest musicians into the broader spotlight for good.