Pulses Perform Mesmerizing Post-Hardcore On Richly Dynamic Latest Album

Speak It Into Existence — the latest album from the Virginia post-hardcore group Pulses — comes across as simultaneously invigoratingly fun to listen to and full of moments to stop and smell the metaphorical roses and find a new dose of emotional self-clarity in the process. That duality is an impressive feat for any band.

The sheer variety of sonic textures that the band pack into a single song feels totally remarkable — and they’ve got a dozen of ’em on their new record. “Louisiana Purchase,” for instance, opens with a barrage of some heavy riffs, moves into a swancore-style segment of rapid-fire vocals, kicks off a jazzy breakdown section, and then rolls into another round of heavy riffs for the conclusion — and, just before the end, those riffs fall away and leave a totally danceable electronica rhythm. There’s a refrain towards the end of the song that seems to sum up the vibe quite memorably well — “From the club to the moshpit, y’all know that we got this.” Listening to the song, the only viable conclusion is: yes, the band has totally got this.

“Exist Warp Speed” features some more hip-hop-oriented vocals alongside heavy flashes of guitar riffing that somehow feel like the perfect accompaniment. The band’s dynamics stretch across the spectrum — “Big Mood,” for instance, features some jazzy post-hardcore with a kick during chorus segments. Meanwhile, “Rebel, the Mightiest Cat,” which is named after and tells the story of a late cat of one of the album co-creator’s, features some of the most outright heavy moments on the record, with lumbering breakdowns around the beginning and end. “Olivia Wild” captures the side of the band’s sound that’s somewhere in the middle, delivering a barrage of skidding, off-kilter rhythms that feel like musical gusts whipping through a wind tunnel. Taking in the energy-rich range of music feels totally exhilarating.

Pulses have turned “ordinary” electric guitar rhythms inside out and reformed them into a glistering portrait of lurching upbeat energy, like their album captures the sound of a total determination to have a good time during the meteor showers of life. Pulses tie their superbly glistering sonic variety together with smooth cohesion; the leaps of energy and simmering self-contemplation that run through the album briskly unite the sprawl, and somehow, they’ve finely tuned the zany arrangements to make total sense, on an overall vibe level. Listening feels a bit like stumbling into some unfamiliar natural environment that’s vibrantly teeming with life.

5/5 Stars

Listen to Speak It Into Existence below! The stellar record is available on vinyl.