Pete and the Pirates‘ Spotify biography describes their work as ‘frenetic and thoughtful indie rock’ and that’s a pretty accurate summation of their sound. I do think their name is brilliant; I spent a good half hour applying this seemingly foolproof formula to my own name – Alice and the Androids, Alice and the Answers, Alice and the Angry Birds… all good potential band names, it works! Try it yourself, a perfect procrastination activity, as if you need one!
Anyway…they’ve toured the UK throughout May and are playing a few festivals in the summer. They sort of remind me of The Undertones, in a good way, and it’s nice to have some decent music from my own home county to review – perhaps these guys can do their bit to make Berkshire seem just a little more cool.
One Thousand Pictures begins strongly; ‘Can’t Fish’ has a memorable chorus and a nicely swaying tempo. I really like ‘Little Gun’ for its simplicity and shortness. The intro reminds me a lot of Kings of Leon’s ‘Red Morning Light’ (same chords) though the bands and the two songs have little in common (still I must admit it did make me jump ship to KOL for a little while.) The necessity to have couple of tracks of diminutive length becomes apparent- there are thirteen tracks so it’s not a short album.
‘Shotgun’ has an ominous sounding beginning, and the sinister lyrics are reflected in the music’s creeping bass line and angular melody. My favourite track is the bittersweet ‘Washing Powder’. It’s a bit melancholic and weary, sometimes reflected in a languid sliding between chords, and demonstrates good use of guitar – doubling the voice in the chorus adds a nice unexpected layer of texture.
The two singles released so far, ‘United’ and ‘Come To The Bar’, are as you would expect a couple of the best on the album. ‘Come To The Bar’ is over five minutes long, but you won’t get tired of it, it’s breezy, synthy and catchy and may well have you “dancing around until the carpet’s wearing thin”. I love the line from ‘United’ “but this moonlight is not moonlight, it’s electric, electric light” and I was singing along to the chorus on my second listen; a definite crowd pleaser.
‘Things That Go Bump’ is my least favourite track, perhaps because it’s a little too similar to what precedes it, and as I said, it is a long album with little variation, not straying far from its level; there are a few less memorable tracks amongst the majority, which are mostly much better than average songs. I would recommend One Thousand Pictures; Pete and the Pirates definitely deserve more recognition than they have currently, they’re more original than a lot of bands and Sander’s vocals distinguish them. Go listen!
Good: Catchy Indie-pop
Bad: Little variation