The mathematical constant pi has a lot in common with love—for hundreds and hundreds of years it has caused centered and logical folks to pull their hair out. Like love, pi is called irrational, infinite, and unpredictable.
A Love Like Pi’s moniker purposely references these two epic headaches. The New York-based band revels in exploring such mercurial profundities, especially those surrounding the number three. The three-piece rock-electronica outfit calls its debut, III, and, on it, they imaginatively, and with bold emotionality, explore three stages of life.
The abstract dialogue pi and love invites represents an intriguing parallel in A Love Like Pi’s own sonic disposition. The group confounds electronic band expectations through sidestepping dance music and, instead, nurturing a unique style of hook-laden cathartic music that, at times, conjures up the visceral quality of punk rock.
A Love Like Pi’s cavalier and catchy artistry has garnered acclaim and prime exposure from pop and tastemaking outlets such as WhiteRiverRafting, EMD Sauce, Seventeen, PureVolume, Punchland, Diffuser.fm, The Electronic Current, among others. A Love Like Pi is the vision of singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/producer Lief Liebmann, and it features the propulsive, and dynamically creative, drumming of Christopher LoPorto. Live the band fattens its sound with a sideman bassist, Chez.
A Love Like Pi’s three stages of life narrative is loosely divided into the sections boy, man, and death with each epoch being evoked through dynamics and thoughtful, time-of-life appropriate lyrics. The album begins brash and ends meditate.
III’s vigorous opening track, “Till I Die,” establishes the story arc with cocky youthful anthemics. A few songs in, the narrative dips a toe in reflection with the adolescent crisis of “Sorry 2.0.” Here, tucked slyly beneath the track’s futuristic pop, the protagonist explores his struggle with sexual dysfunction. The throttling “Cats” is a playful reprieve from the album’s narrative. “That was written about a nightmare I had about cats. The noises in the chorus mimic the sound of the cats in the nightmare,” Lief says, laughing good-naturedly.
The final four tracks on the 10-song album exhibit a spiritual stateliness that’s non-religious but otherworldly. The gorgeous ethereal indie pop of these tracks represent something of a new direction for A Love Like Pi—a vibe hinted at on its debut EP. The highlight in this section is the album closer, “Living Honestly.” “That song conveys closing in many ways—we close our shows with it—it’s this wistful look back to action done,” Lief says.
Lief wrote, produced, and performed 90% of A Love Like Pi’s music in a closet-sized studio crammed in a New York apartment. For such claustrophobic surroundings, it’s surprising the album has so much space, atmosphere, and vibe. One testament to that is Lief’s background in orchestral music. He envisions his songs to have that lush, counter-melodic quality inherent in opulent classical music.
Exploring a lifetime in a year has taught Lief some powerful lessons. “It taught me how to manage my time for sure,” he says laughing. “What surprised me the most about doing this album is how stages of life bleed into each other—life isn’t rigid and neat, and we can always learn through exploring different stages.”