After several mentions on “the Independent Ethos” about the work of Reading, England’s Pete and the Pirates and progress on the band’s sophomore album (Pete and the Pirates release new single; Pete and the Pirates offer free mp3s), the album is complete and already streaming live in its entirety. You can hear all of One Thousand Pictures on NME.com.
The album will have its official release on May 24, and so far seems to lack US distribution, as Amazon.com lists it as an import (Support the Independent Ethos: buy the album on Amazon via this link). Too bad for Americans who will have to pay import prices on this album, as the band has long deserved more exposure. The band’s first album, Little Death (Support the Independent Ethos: buy the vinyl on Amazon via this link), came out in 2008. Since hearing, P&P’s first album, I always thought the group had the rough edge of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah blended with the brashness of Franz Ferdinand and the catchiness of both. Now, the band seems to be growing into its own sound.
Nearly three years after Little Death, the passage of time between the two album shows, as One Thousand Pictures reveals a more developed sound. They enlisted producer Brendan Lynch, who, according to the NME link above, has worked with Paul Weller, Primal Scream and Ocean Colour Scene. The result is a more bombastic, polished sound that also has the band diving into some heavy effects, adding a dynamism lacking from Little Death.
What does remain, however, is the band’s knack for crafting catchy, clever hooks. The band’s first official single from the album, “Come to the Bar” features a luscious, loud synth line, and “Winter 1,” which follows “Come to the Bar” on the album, bounces along on a rubbery bass hook filled with reverb. A savvy sense of the post-punk influence also shows in the final product, from a reference to Blondie in the lyrics of “Come to the Bar” (“1979 and ‘Heart of Glass’ is playing.”) to the amorphous shifts in tone of “Things That Go Bump” that recalls Magazine, which I wished lasted longer.
One Thousand Pictures is one of those rare albums by an English band deeply rooted in both the rebellion that spawned a characteristic sound out of the UK in the late seventies that also looks forward to the alternative rock sounds of today.
There is a limited edition vinyl version of the album, which you can purchase direct from the band’s UK-based record company, Stolen Recordings (Buy it here— they take Paypal, which makes it easy to US-based customers). But, as it sometimes plagues vinyl versions, the manufacturing of the record has been delayed, and no definitive ship date has been provided, as of the publication of this post.
Pete and the Pirates have already released three videos for songs on the new album. Most recently, they issued a call out for cat videos from fans to come up with the video for “United,” the most recent official video from the album (you can find the prior two videos for “Winter 1” and “Come to the Bar” in the P&P links above on the Independent Ethos). Here’s the result of the cat video compilation, which seems to beg for the attention of those cat video lovers that prowl YouTube:
Finally, animals seem to be a recurring theme in P&Ps videos, as can be seen by the appearance of a chicken in this early video for “Mr. Understanding,” the catchy single off Little Death: