Saturday, May 3, 2008

review: Pete and the Pirates - Little Death


Though they’ve been making lots of noise in Reading since before their European LP debut on Feb. 18, Pete and the Pirates’ US debut will undoubtedly be a spectacle.

“Little Death,” the Brit-popsters’ first full-length album, is upbeat, poignant, tender, raw, raucous and refined. Saying they bring a new sound to the scene would be a lie, but that doesn’t mean the well-kept rhythms and smooth, catchy melodies are any less impressive.

The sound really isn’t original; there are smatterings of Interpol, Bloc Party and Editors all mixed together. But, though I wouldn’t give them good marks for originality, it doesn’t matter in the end. The formulaic sound for successful and catchy British indie-rock is always a winner when it’s done well, and Pete and the Pirates do just that.

Though many of those bands, once up-and-coming, have moved on to bigger and better studios and a more refined sound, Pete and the Pirates do well to latch onto an urgent and energetic sound. Hopefully they’ll be able to hold on to that in the future.

One note to keep in mind is that the album is incredibly short, clocking in at just less than 36 minutes, but with 13 tracks it doesn’t feel undersized. The alternation of upbeat and slower songs keeps the album moving until the end.

The single “Mr. Understanding” is easily my favorite track on the album; it embodies everything that a pop-rock indie song should be. The music video is pretty entertaining too, in all of its apparently homemade splendor.

There are other great singles on the album too. “Knots,” the album’s first single release, is another great piece of pop-rock indie-ness, and “Moving” is a slowed-down track that rides on singer/guitarist Tom Sanders’ soothing vocals. Even the latest single, “She Doesn’t Belong to Me,” picks up after a slow start.

Though they don’t have any tour dates lined up outside of Europe yet, it would be worth it to keep watch. And now that “Little Death” has made it stateside, you should probably pick it up.