Pit Er Pat, the minimalist duo of Fay Davis-Jeffers and the dubiously named Butchy Fuego, have pared down their sound in search of simple beauty, but the result is an icy album utterly lacking in energy. Davis-Jeffers sounds bored throughout The Flexible Entertainer, and her languid, half-rapped vocals are entirely affectless.
It's a curious performance, devoid of swing or swagger, with all the charm and character of the flat, feminine voice that welcomes you to your voicemail. "Water" is particularly problematic, its bland vocals augmented by goofy sound effects and cluttered drum programming. And the group's starched guitar playing and penchant for irritating melodies turn "Summer Rose" into a trial.
Fuego takes command of the album's percussion and makes a valiant effort to spice up the affair: "Emperor of Charms" uses smartly arrayed layers of congas, cymbals, and drums to cultivate a frenzied rhythmic atmosphere that provides one of the album's few spots of pleasure. By restricting themselves to a few basic sounds — voice, guitar, and drums — Pit Er Pat hoped to shed any artifice that might stand between their art and their audience. Without the artifice, however, it becomes obvious that there's not much art.