13 Jul 2015
Piano Wire / Genius of the Crowd (album review)
They're made up of members of storming early noughties psycho-billy band Eighties Matchbox, have one of the most stunning live shows going, and until now had only drip fed fans a few new songs here and there, but finally HERE IT IS. Piano Wire's debut album The Genius of the Crowd. I mean, it's being billed as a mini album, but it's exactly as long as Eighties Matchbox's debut album Horse of the Dog, so whilst giving the format a name isn't really a biggie I'll review it and talk about it as if it were a kinda slightly short album rather than anything else. It's just a big release by a great band and you really need to hear it.
The band have an energetic rock 'n' roll sound that harks back to Pixies; their free single from February Are You The Vaccine? is a brilliant example of their sound that has that same stomp that Frank Black and co's 1988 debut encapsulates perfectly, but with a bluesy psych edge added on top with squealing guitars and all the sort of right kinda influences you want to hear from a new band.
Piano Wire's sound is firmly routed in rock music but it's got enough pop sensibilities to be a really nice listen. The songs are so well written, the choruses are catchy enough, and the band really feel like something pretty excellent.
I guess it's not the most exciting release ever; of the three main standouts, two had already been released; Are You Vaccine?, alongside the no-nonsense stomp of Fossils should be two songs familiar to your ears, but the bright shimmer of power-pop gem Crushing Violet more than makes up for the fact that a lot of the new songs are kinda filler-y, because Crushing Violet is a brilliant sprawling track, and the rest of the new ones are (whilst forgettable) danceable, punchy, and short enough not to drag on.
As someone that has followed this band intensely since they smashed it up at their 3rd gig supporting The Wytches, I listen to this knowing that it's not quite as good their incredible live show, but it's a more than enjoyable listen that will keep me going til their next tour.
With The Genius of the Crowd, which I might add is named after a Bukowski poem, the band have reinvented themselves as fairly twee early-REM style rockers, when most the (underground music) world knew them as the ultimate psycho-billy goths. It's definitely a strong effort and seeing as you can hear it for free on soundcloud, it's easy enough to check it out - I fairly highly recommend this record, but I really highly recommend you get out and see them soon.
(written by calum cashin)