The second album is by far the most scrutinized release of any band. Fans (and critics) are at their most skeptical when eagerly awaiting “the sequel”. So naturally I approach this release with an air of raised eyebrow. After touting Pete & The Pirates‘ debut record Little Death as vintage Bloc Party I am a bit relieved to say their newest release One Thousand Pictures doesn’t disappoint.
When debut albums are loved or lamented with the greatest of ease, it’s the follow up release that is often the deciding factor in your devotion to an artist. Will it be an expansion of the band’s sound? Something dark and weird? This time around the boys from Reading, England showcase a much stronger electronic influence and stretch the boundaries of their quick-riff/hook-heavy pop songs creating more elaborate tunes with a greater emphasis on building up melodies and layers. Further evidence of this lies in the fact that each song is on average 60 to 90 seconds longer than those on the first record.
On the surface level, most people will notice lead-singer Thomas Sanders’ “very British” vocal style, the guitar-oriented hooks and a rather straightforward percussion line. But the beauty about these guys is their ability to create a package of songs that all sound different and unique while still bouncing along a consistent backbone.
“Shotgun” takes a while to get going but illustrates the band’s new sense of patience and discipline. The clean, atmospheric guitar may remind some listeners of U2′s The Edge or The Doves’ Jez Williams. Similar guitar can be found on “Washing Powder” and results in a beautiful tune where the vocals and melodies play off each other with the greatest of ease.
“Come To The Bar” was the first single of the album and stands out as a darker post-punk entry. While it’s not my personal favorite I appreciate the new direction. “United” is more my speed as a playful faster jam that may or may not be about hooking up with a ladyfriend. “Winter 1″ is another song with heaver electronic overtones and after the second or third listen will certainly be stuck in your head.
“Little Gun” is actually very similar to the songs off Little Death but there is a depth in particular to the bass lines that add a richer quality to this simple pop tune.
As a fan of “jangly” British indie rock I love this record. This is a band with a great sense of humor who appears committed to elevating their sound and not just doing more of the same. It’s a solid indie rock record free of arrogance and ridiculous filler. Hopefully Pete & The Pirates will venture across the Atlantic later this year and plunder a few rock shows in the States.
Ladies and Gentlemen summertime is here, and what better time is there for a fresh batch of new tunes. Whether you are cruising with your windows down, BBQin’, hitting up a waterslide, or whatever else people do in the summertime these days, these new songs should serve as a nice soundtrack for your next few months.
In this, the third volume of the MOR New Tunes playlist we feature music from Middle Brother, Rural Alberta Advantage, Noah and the Whale, Kurt Vile, Generationals, Robbie Robertson, Maritime, Jason Isbell, The Alabama Shakes, The Belle Brigade, Tune-Yards, Fleet Foxes, Pete and the Pirates and My Morning Jacket.
Don’t have Spotify? Do yourself a favor and download it, it’s free and quite wonderful. Why don’t you follow us while you’re at it?
English indie rockers, Pete And The Pirates, are streaming their new album One Thousand Pictures here on NME.com. This will be the follow up release to the band’s 2008 debut Little Death, a personal fave and solid recommendation for fans of early Bloc Party. The album isn’t out until next Monday May 23 and judging from the singles already released One Thousand Pictures has a darker, heavier tone to the indie pop-rock of Little Death.
It doesn’t seem like that long ago when we wrote about last year’s most anticipate albums and here we are again anxiously awaiting another round of great new releases. Last year’s bunch turned out seven really solid albums, and three other discs who have yet come to fruition. Let’s start with the holdovers and then get to a fresh batch of new albums we can’t wait to hear.
The Strokes – Angles – RELEASED
It might have taken a little longer than expected, but the new Strokes disc is right around the corner. Make no mistake this is a big studio album, and could go either way but I for one am hoping Julian, Al Jr. and co. can recapture some old magic.
Radiohead – RELEASED – Click Here for Review
Just last week after spending some time with Thom Yorke BBC 1′s Giles Peterson said “And there’s a new Radiohead album if you’re wondering. Just done I believe.” Hey he’s British, he must be right. Right?
U2 – Songs of Ascent – Mid 2011
Who knows for sure what the Irish foursome are up to as reports are scattered about different producers, material sources and even the possible inclusion of the ridiculous Spider Man broadway tunes. At the end of the day 2009′s NLOTH wasn’t terrible but lifelong U2 fans like myself are certainly hoping this next one is the grand finale.
Wilco – TBD
Fresh off of the news of Wilco’s newly formed dBpm Records comes a report from 24bit that Wilco is back in the loft working on the followup to 09′s Wilco (The Album). As the lead release for their very own record label, hopes are high for something really special.
Pete & The Pirates – One Thousand Pictures – May 23
According to their website the British indie rockers have finished recording and are in the final stages of their follow up to 2008′s Little Death, which NME referred to as “”perfect pop without the pretense”. A rarity with British bands these days.
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit – Here We Rest – RELEASED – Click Here for Review
Following up 2009′s excellent Seven Mile Island, and some killer session work with Justin Townes Earle, Jason Isbell is back with a new full length this spring. The Muscle Shoals recording studio should make him feel right at home, so hopefully we can look forward to more rich Southern rock classics from the 400 Unit.
The Avett Brothers – TBD
Just last week, Paste magazine reported that the Avett Brothers were back in the studio with one Richard Rubin. And not just any studio, Echo Mountain studio in Asheville NC – which also happens to be the primary recording home of MOR fave Band of Horses. The band says they hope to have “something done” by mid 2011.
Robbie Robertson – How to Become Clairvoyant – RELEASED – Click Here for Review
The chief songwriting force behind The Band says he is dropping a new album we listen. When he puts out a really good lead single we get excited. The cherry on top are the reported guest spots from Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Robert Randolph and Trent Reznor.
My Morning Jacket – TBD
It’s been two and a half years since we last heard from what we hope is still Jim James’ day job, but all signs are pointing to a new disc in 2011. The band brought out a few new tracks during their last tour, and the band is currently posting daily “In The Studio Pics” to their facebook page. LP6 here we come.
The Cars – Move Like This – 5/11
First there came the rumors, then the facebook picture of the four surviving members in the studio and then the teaser of “Blue Tip,” which showcased the classic Cars sound and now it’s official. After a 23 year hiatus The Cars have reunited and their album is scheduled to be released this year. Fingers crossed it lives up to expectations.
The Jealous Sound – TBD – TBD
It’s been a while since their 2003 debut album “Kill Them With Kindness” and after a few canceled tour dates, one mediocre EP and rumors about lead singer Blair Shehan “going crazy and disappearing”, the band is officially back together again and in the studio recording tracks for their sophomore release.