Friday, June 10, 2011

Album Review: Pete and the Pirates – One Thousand Pictures

Somehow, it's been about three years since I last foamed at the mouth about an LP by Reading's Pete and The Pirates. When last we met, the five scamps I had no choice but to refer to as "impish" were filling stereo speakers the world over with their slyly naughty, come-hither jangle on Little Death. Now, on One Thousand Pictures, instead of an album full of innuendo that runs rampant (and was marginally less obvious than a 2 am knock on the door wearing one's birthday suit), the band exhibits a definite maturation, both lyrically and musically speaking. Mind you, they're still adorable, and I'm pretty sure they're still up for it.

The change struck me immediately, in the stately sweep of intro track "Can't Fish." The band sounds, dare I even think it, almost serious. It almost sounds as though, in this song and many others, that Pete and The Pirates is beginning to dip their collective toe into the fine British tradition of social commentary in song. They don't ever get as scathing as FL favorite The Young Knives, for example, but the foray into observation suits them well. The LP, while distinctly more grown up than Little Death, still retains the overall flavor of what made that record so indispensible. "Little Gun" shimmies rambunctiously til kingdom come, reminding me just a touch of golden era Supergrass. It's one of my favorites, as is "Come To The Bar," full of cheek and impossible to resist. And as a side note, if I ever call any of you darlings "my crocodile," it comes from this song.

There's a pair of songs on One Thousand Pictures that was available well before the LP was released, "Winter 1" and "Blood Gets Thin." The former charmingly chugs along on a steady march, and the latter laced with sinister guitars and an ominous yet playful air. "United" is another favorite, and hearkens back to the Little Death days of tantalizingly sexed-up songs. I'm more than a little in love with album closer "Half Moon Street," a lovely, wistful ballad in the vein of Little Death's "Eyes Like Tar," all slow burning interspersed with that guitar racket I love so much. It's a great way to end, that's for sure.

It was a long time coming, but I'm glad Pete and The Pirates took their time with this one. One Thousand Pictures is a delight, and I'm fairly certain I'll be talking about it with the other top records of the year when the time comes.

mp3: Come To The Bar (Pete and The Pirates from One Thousand Pictures)

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