The CD kicks off in a lighthearted manner with the Judaeo-surf rocker Skin and Bones. On paper this looks improbable, but it works. 'Go Go Golem' is, as its name suggests, an ultra-heavy Crimsoid anthem replete with distorted guitars, pounding drums, and fuzz-bass. Blumenkranz gets a gloriously noisy solo in before Fruchter and Brown take the tune completely out into heavy-metal heaven. Like the other heavy-rockin' tracks - 'Minim' (Parts 1 & 2), and 'Robe of Priestly Proportions (Part 1)' - 'Go Go Golem' is blessed with a strong melody, and an interesting non-linear structure. The fact that these guys are superb improvisers only adds to the excitement. Not content to be pigeonholed, Fruchter and his band delve into all sorts of other sounds and rhythms on "Pitom." 'Robe of Priestly Proportions (Part 2)' alternates lyrical Klezmer-like passages with holwling slabs of fuzzed sludge, and Zubek gets to flash his formidable jazz chops on 'Davita', a swift, jazzy, Masada-like tune with a bounding 6/8 meter. On the other end of the spectrum, both 'The Binding of Burning Books' and 'Shikora' have a super-chilled late-night vibe that wouldn't be out of place on one of Tom Verlaine's instrumental CDs. 'Minim (Parts 1 & 2)' explores a variety of rhythms and time signatures at breakneck skate-punk tempos - the duet between Brown's violin and Fruchter's violently shredding guitar is refreshingly visceral. The CD's lone ballad, the bittersweet 'Sadie's Splinter' closes "Pitom" on a gentle, thoughtful note.
Pitom is a first-rate debut CD by an incredibly creative, remarkably capable, and gutsy band that takes musical risk-taking in stride. This CD is a must-have for Tzadik fans and fans of instrumental progressive rock, as well as for those who simply enjoy intense music in general.