Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Meet Piccolo Pete!
Typical of a band comprised of punk rock veterans, Piccolo Pete exhibits tremendous musicianship. So while a lot of today’s bands in the Buzzcocks/Jam mold come on in a caffeinated frenzy, these guys leave their music more room to breathe. Their style is “mature” in the best sense of the term. Think more A Different Kind of Tension than Spiral Scratch. The songs are well-crafted, lyrically witty, and full of instrumental breaks emphasizing the interplay between guitar and bass. As a musical unit, these three are as tight and crisp as it comes. They’ve got the harmonies and guitar sound of vintage Buzzcocks down to a T. There’s even a bit of a Shelley/Diggle type thing going on with the lead vocals. And Kaa, best known for his guitar work in The Crowd, is an absolutely sick bass player. While a couple songs like the terrific “You’re Never Near” are snappy pop/punk by the book, the best tracks are less hurried and a little more sophisticated. A couple really stand out. “Seen One, Seen Them All” cleverly finds parallels between our manufactured culture and one man’s female troubles, while “As the Summer Fades” is a touching recollection of childhood fun in the pre-Internet age. Truthfully, there’s not a bad song in the bunch. These guys can do anything from 100 percent pure pop (“Above the Water”) to balls-out rockin’ punk (“New New Girlfriend”). Even the covers (Buzzcocks’ “Walking Distance” and The Jam’s “All Mod Cons”) are keepers.
I love it that Piccolo Pete is so excited about its new record that it just wants to people to hear it free of charge. I’m thinking that a lot of individuals will like it so much that they will end up paying for a hard copy. Of course I’ve always been a sucker for this particular sub-genre of punk. But truthfully I’ve never heard a band play it quite like Piccolo Pete does. As musicians and songwriters, these guys are a cut above. Among the ever-growing list of top ten worthy albums of 2012, here’s one that will be very hard to deny.