Monday, 3 June 2013

THE PJP BAND - ALBUM REVIEW

The PJP Band - And So It Goes (Ouf Records) 
The PJP Band - And So It Goes

Release Date: 3rd June 2013

Let's get something straight from the get-go: The PJP Band's line up is drums, bass and keys but they are NOT the new Ben Folds Five and they are DEFINITELY NOT the new Keane. Capiche? Super. Right, now that that's out of the way, let me tell you about this debut offering from the Cornish trio fronted by the enigmatic Patrick James Pearson. And for a debut offering it is brave, damn brave. I mean how many other bands introduce you to their sophomore long player with forty five seconds of Murray Lachlan-Young-esque spoken word, almost spat at you but with just enough poise to stop it from seeming threatening. Then it's straight in to 'Disciplines' with its grumbling, rumbling bassline and booming drums paving the way for Pearson's velvety smooth vocal that remind me of Brandon Boyd at his seductive best. The breathy organ of 'Mountain Or Moses' lays a bright, white canvas for complex lyrical pictures to be painted upon for us to gaze upon and find meaning in time and time again. There is an almost undeniable likeness to the Doors in the way some of these songs are created with Pearson unafraid to tackle Manzarek-like keys work whilst simultaneously and effortlessly projecting poetic yet organic verses. Meanwhile, Mike Osborne and Tim Langsford, Bass and Drums respectively, have the ability and imagination of Jazz musicians which adds at least two more layers to every song.

'Ole! We Ain't Prey' is probably the first real anthem on the album and you could easily imagine an army of fans singing "Blood was spilt in your coliseum" back at the band from every corner of a packed, sweaty club.  However, it is on recent single 'Vicious Luck' that the trio sound most urgent, most vital and most good. Most good. Similarities to the Pixies are not undeserved but the huge organ sound, vocal harmonies and relentless drums gives this song a entirely individual sound that it is hard to resist. For anyone who hasn't read my review of 'I Am A Racer', all you need to know is that it should be an Indie Disco Smash by the end of this year or those going to Indie Discos are clearly deaf, dumb and more influenced by the soundtrack of Hollyoaks than I had dared think possible. The refrain of "There is nobody like us" is simple genius in the vein of Cobain's generation defying 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' chorus. On 'Sweet Tokyo' the band explore the idea of the alternative ballad, replete with throbbing organ and a frenzied spoken word middle-eight but any sense of calm is, ironically, broken by the rag-time stomp of 'Karm & Condition'. As if this trio weren't versatile enough, 'The Chalk Divide' sees them tackle the Beatles during that period when Lennon was at his most political and the vocals at their most delayed.

At over six minutes long, 'Stone Cold Cinema' is easy to dismiss as indulgent but take a second look. You'll soon see that this is like the shy girl who enters the pub with her friends and you don't notice her at first but when you see her standing awkwardly in the light of the fire exit sign you see that she has the most honest eyes and the most genuine smile you've ever seen - it's not love at first sight but none of the best things ever are. The sombre tones of 'Long Time Runner' signal that this journey is nearly at end but not before serenading with a wall of sound the Flaming Lips would die for and a sense of end-of-stadium-show grandeur that Springsteen would sagely nod his approval of - it perhaps should have been the album closer. 'So It Goes' feels like a more straight down the line Indie romp, as though Elvis Costello was singing with vintage Hives (that is in no way a bad thing by the way). And then we arrive at the end, at the impossibly beautiful 'EMBRACEHER' with its gentle but persistent piano stabs slowly evolving in to a love song so open and honest that it will surely be used by inarticulate men everywhere to propose/say sorry/try to get laid.

All in all this is not only a fantastic album it is also a sensational debut. The fact that an album of such originality, passion, imagination, eloquence  and joie de vivre has been created by just three humble chaps from Cornwall not only breathes new life in to the music scene but will also do an awful lot to dispel those outdated stereotypes that people from the arse-end of England are, shall we say, culturally challenged. That said, it's a proper 'ansome  record so geddon me boodies! (NB I'm allowed to say that, I'm born and bred in pasty country).

More information: www.thepjpband.com

Live Dates:
9th June - Charles Causely Festival, Launceston
29th June - Eden Sessions, Eden Project, Cornwall (w/Kaiser Chiefs, The Computers, Tom Tom Club, Deap Valley, Brother & Bones)
13th July - Castle Rock, Launceston

10th August - Boardmasters Festival, Newquay

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