On Tuesday, Rey Pila played to a sold-out Capitol Theatre in support of The Strokes. Opening for The Strokes can be a tough job, but Rey Pila handled it well, flirting with the lo-fi vocals and technical guitar skills of The Strokes to lure the audience in while still maintaining their unique sound. Though The Strokes may be more established, Rey Pila brought energy and an excitement for just being on stage that The Strokes seem to have lost.
Opening with “Alexander” off of their latest album, The Future Sugar, Rey Pila’s infectious synths suggest the influence of their latest producer, Chris Coady, who has worked with Beach House in the past. Though the dreaminess of the synths is similar to Beach House, Rey Pila contrasts the atmospheric quality of the synths with the precision of riffs on keyboard and guitar, at times reminiscent of the now defunct Youth Lagoon.
Still, despite similarities to various artists in certain moments, Rey Pila maintains a sound unmistakably their own. In “Fire Away”, bouncy synths are layered beneath low vocals that could belong to Tears for Fears or a baritone Duran Duran. A recurring keyboard riff gives the song a driving beat, and the song is both catchy like an earworm but complex and layered enough to be interesting 10 listens later.
The highlight of Rey Pila’s portion of the show is “Apex”, a single released in advance of The Future Sugar and the penultimate song in their set. Cascading synths and a syncopated bassline suddenly fill the Cap and Diego Solórzano puts both hands on the mic stand, his vocals weaving into the fabric of sound. “Dancing into the dead of night, dancing until you start a fight…”
They close with “No Longer Fun”, their most popular track off their 2011 self-titled album. The song is a contradiction between the music and lyrics, with the chorus being Solórzano echoing “it’s no longer fun” with a sense of seeming exuberance while a playful bassline runs underneath. The audience seems to take their cues from the music rather than the lyrics, bouncing along to the beat.
What A Nice Surprise
No Longer Fun