Group Members: Michael Pitt Christian Zucconi Ryan Donowho Indigo Ruth Davis Luca Amendolara Willie Paredes Reece Carr Chris Hoffman A project of actor/singer/guitarist Michael Pitt, Pagoda were formed in 2001 when Pitt met fellow actor/musician Ryan Donowho, who played drums. Friends such as Christian Zucconi of the band ...(展开全部) Group Members: Michael Pitt Christian Zucconi Ryan Donowho Indigo Ruth Davis Luca Amendolara Willie Paredes Reece Carr Chris Hoffman A project of actor/singer/guitarist Michael Pitt, Pagoda were formed in 2001 when Pitt met fellow actor/musician Ryan Donowho, who played drums. Friends such as Christian Zucconi of the band Aloke filled Pagoda's revolving bassist position. The band made its recorded debut with "Muskrat," which appeared on the soundtrack of The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things, director Asia Argento's film adaptation of J.T. Leroy's novel. Pagoda added cellist Indigo Ruth Davis to the fold, and in 2004 they went to Milan to record tracks for their full-length album; producer/engineer Luca Amendolara liked the band's sound so much that he became Pagoda's full-time bassist. In 2005, the group released a five-song demo that caught the ear of director Gus Van Sant, who cast Pitt as the lead in his film Last Days and featured two of Pagoda's songs on the soundtrack. A video for "Happy Song," which the band filmed when Zucconi was still part of the lineup, appeared on Last Days' DVD release. Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore worked as a music consultant on the film and was impressed enough with Pagoda that he signed the band to his Ecstatic Peace label. Just before the winter 2007 release of Pagoda's self-titled debut album, the band's website announced the new lineup of Pitt, bassist Willie Paredes, drummer Reece Carr, and cellist Chris Hoffman. Former members Amendolara and Donowho returned to working with bands in Italy and acting, respectively. Based on the rapid rate that bands in the 2000s recycled the sounds from previous decades, such as '70s post-punk and '80s new wave, a revival of early-'90s grunge and alt-rock was due right around 2007. Enter Pagoda, the project of actor/musician Michael Pitt, who played a tortured, suicidal rock star in Gus Van Sant's Last Days, which was inspired by the tortured, suicidal rock star, Kurt Cobain. While it's too easy to draw a parallel between Pitt's and Cobain's music just because Pitt played a Cobain-like figure — and too convenient to dismiss Pagoda as an actor's musical vanity project — it's hard to deny that Nirvana are a major inspiration on Pagoda's self-titled debut album. Pagoda are more experimental and expansive than the definitive grunge band's work (with the exception of "Gallons of Rubbing Alcohol Flow Through the Strip"), but Pitt's nasal, raspy vocals and the lunging chord changes that dominate the album feel directly descended from Cobain and company. That's not a bad thing in and of itself, but large stretches of Pagoda just don't work. Too much of the album spends a lot of time doing very little with the band's sound, and rambling tracks like "Botus" and "Voices" (a predictably angsty song with lyrics like "It's the voices inside/Which is mine") prove it's possible for songs to be choppy and meandering at the same time. "Amego"'s stereo screams are vivid, but the snippets of talk radio discussion about immigration and 9/11 that close out the track are more contrived than effective. The sludgy, sleazy song that closes the album, "I Do," seems promising at first, with creepy backing vocals by kids that suggest the band doesn't take itself too seriously, but the hidden track of squalling cellos and spoken word ramblings that follows it undermines that feeling. However, when they pull their sound into focus, Pagoda have potential. "Lesson Learned" and "Sadartha" have a visceral pull despite Pitt's occasionally grating vocals, and the cellos on these tracks add depth. The ballad "Death to Birth" (which appeared in Last Days) is a highlight, as is "Alone," which takes the band's brooding in a heavier direction. "Fetus"' looping song structure and tempo shifts and the noise rock collage of "Fear Cloud" hint that Pitt and crew might have more ideas than the rest of this album displays, but they need more development.