Sunday, May 29, 2011

Pete and The Pirates - One Thousand Pictures

It's no secret that I'm a bit of a fan of this band so pardon any gushing that will occur here. The 2nd full length record from Pete and The Pirates was released on May 23rd on the Stolen Recordings label. I had been anticipating this album since I saw them at South by Southwest Festival in 2009 where they previewed many of the songs that eventually appeared on the new album. Their 2008 album, Little Death, was filled to the brim with interplaying guitars, soaring harmonies, and blissful melodies. This Reading UK quintet expand on what they established with Little Death. I've read other reviews of One Thousand Pictures that describe the band's sound as getting darker and grimmer. But if you take a closer listen to the songs on both Little Death and One Thousand Pictures, things are not always necessarily as sunny and chirpy as they sound but neither is all hope and optimism lost. "Can't Fish" opens the album on a melancholy note ("empty your pockets and hold out your hand/pretend that you love me") but you can't help singing along by the end of it. "Cold Black Kitty" is an unexpected treat - a pounding, slightly sinister rock song about a cat. "Little Gun" chugs along very nicely. Just listen to the intro guitar riff and that energy doesn't let up through the entire song. "Come To The Bar"starts off with a bit of new wave vibe with its offbeat, squiggly synths and includes another irresistible singalong chorus. "Winter 1" is true to its title with its wintery vibe and repeated lyrical plea of "you've got a long way home". I can listen to this one repeatedly for the bass riff alone. Groovy and bouncy. "Washing Powder" is unapologetically melancholic but they still pull out that singalong chorus that is somehow uplifting. Regrets and memories leave a lingering effect indeed - "it's just your washing powder/little voice I hear getting louder/one stupid thing to remind me/of somebody I thought was behind me". "Blood Gets Thin" was originally released as a non-album single but it makes a return appearance on OTP. It's been redone with a dirtier, rockier feel reminiscent of how it sounds during their live sets. "United" has been released as a single and it's an obvious choice. Your face will hurt just a bit because you'll be grinning so much after singing along and dancing around the room. The video is full of playful cats in contrast to its darkly humourous lyrics (Girl, I don't want to die tonight/I just want some sunshine"). "Shotgun" follows with its darker lyrical tone mentioning building walls and getting out your rifle but it soars with its crashing mix of guitars. "Motorbike" is a lovely, galloping tune. You can almost picture yourself being on a motorbike in the countryside while listening to the lyrics. "Things That Go Bump" is just pure fun. Loud, noisy, and raucous. I loved this one from SXSW 2009 and I'm certainly pleased that this made it on the album. "Reprise" is a continuation of "Blood Gets Thin". It's a result of the extended wig out that happens during live performances of BGT. I'm not sure of it as a standalone track. I like it but you might also want to listen it once or twice right after BGT. It works both ways. "Half Moon Street" finds a second life after first appearing on Tap Tap's (singer Tom Sanders solo project) "On My Way" album. I certainly love the stripped back original version but it also shines in the full band version. Me with the band at SXSW 2011. From left to right : Thomas Sanders, Jonny Sanders, David Thorpe, Pete Hefferan, Pete Cattermoul.

1 comment:

  1. I always enjoy an in depth review of an artist I like. I agree wholeheartedly that the contrast of moods on both debut and sophomore album aren't that dissimilar. My favourite track off "Little Death" was "Bears" and thats not as lighthearted as the melody suggests. "Things that go bump" is actually about domestic violence, but it takes a few listens to get it, as the tune is bouncing around like a 5 year old hyped on candy! A great review.