Friday, September 9, 2016
New album from Nick Piunti!
Out on Marty Scott's JEM Records, Trust Your Instincts is exactly what we've come to expect from Nick Piunti: ten exquisitely-crafted pop songs with amazing lyrics and hooks to die for. Trust Your Instincts sounds a little like the pure pop album I've been waiting decades for Paul Westerberg to make. If that sounds like "dad rock" to you, Piunti will gladly wear that as a badge of honor. While I will always count on power pop bands to mythologize the infatuations, torrid romances, and inevitable heartbreaks of youth, I love that Nick Piunti is using the same musical form to speak to the significant experiences of adult life. If "power pop for grown-ups" is a genre unto itself, we are very fortunate to witness one of its masters at work.
Trust Your Instincts is typical of a Nick Piunti album in that it's all about the songs. Melody, voice, and lyrics take center stage - with the supporting players (Donny Brown on drums, Andy Reed on bass and synth, Ryan Allen on guitar) beautifully serving the material. While by far the most personal and lyrically deep of Piunti's solo albums, Trust Your Instincts is no less immediately satisfying than its predecessors. It exhibits all of the hallmarks of great pop: gorgeous, instantly pleasing melodies; choruses that grab your attention and stick in your head for days; and harmonies that hit the proverbial sweet spot. "One Hit Wonder" is such a perfect specimen of the three minute pop hit that it seems unfathomable that it's not all over the radio. Equally impressive is "Fade Out", which comes on so mellow and low-key until that hook comes out of nowhere and just knocks you out. And the guitar riff propelling "This Ain't the Movies" is worth its weight in gold. Saying that an album "rewards repeated listens" is usually a polite way of observing that it contains no obvious hits. But Trust Your Instincts is a genuinely hit-laden release that only gets better as you peel off its layers and really dig into the songs. No doubt, almost anyone writing pop songs today would kill to be able come up with just one tune as good as "Blame In Vain" or "Dumb It Down".
Marty Scott - who signed Pezband and helped broker the distribution deal that brought Cheap Trick at Budokan to an American audience - has a long history in the world of power pop. He left the music industry for several decades, but his interest in a new generation of artists compelled him to revive the JEM label three years ago. It's no surprise, then, that he went out and signed Nick Piunti. If you're looking to explore some of the great things that have been happening with power pop in recent years, the recordings of Nick Piunti are a fine place to start. Trust Your Instincts is out today and available for purchase from iTunes, Amazon, and Bandcamp!