‘Come To The Bar’ By Pete And The Pirates.
‘Winter’ By Pete And The Pirates.
We first featured Pete and The Pirates in 2008 after being charmed by their marvellous debut album ‘Little Death,’ but then things went ominously quiet. A couple of years between albums is quite normal, indeed they are but the blinking of an eye in Kate Bush’s world. But this perceived lack of Pirate activity did cause concern after all, a sad fact of life is that great bands do call it a day whilst bafflingly shit bands like Scouting For Girls still prevail. However in February 2010 Pete and The Pirates remerged with a one off single “Jennifer / Blood Gets Thin” which found them in rude health and allayed some of our fears. Now their second album ‘One Thousand Pictures’ is set for release on the 23rd of May 2011 and we are happy to report it’s been well worth the wait.
The album is still chock full of the bands trademark pop hooks and proves they have lost none of their ability to write a killer tune but it also showcases a bigger bolder sound than on their debut. The hope and romantic idealism that permeated ‘Little Death’ is replaced by the sort of cynicism that comes from experience and the jangle pop is replaced by a much more rounded rockier sound. Ok so they haven’t done the whole Arctic ‘This is what Led Zeppelin would sound like fronted by George Formby’ Monkeys rock thing but there are some fantastically meaty guitar riffs in evidence. However Pete And The Pirates are an eclectic bunch and don’t really conform to one particular template instead they take us on an intriguing musical journey through indie, rock and even shades of Donna Summer (on ‘Winter.’) As ever it’s the quality of the songs that ultimately ensure that the band build on the success of their debut and ‘One Thousand Pictures’ is definite progression forward. Underneath the jaunty veneer of many of the songs you may find something rather darker lurking and it’s this juxtaposition along with fabulous melodies that once again makes Pete And The Pirates stand out from their peers. We caught up with Peter Hefferan (vocals and guitar) to find out what’s been going on..
Album rating: 9/10
VP: It’s been three years since your début ‘Little Death,’ aside from a single what have you been up to in the interim?
PETE: Well we’ve travelled pretty much the whole of Western Europe a few times sampling the local cuisine and playing the occasional show. Spent some time in the U.S. too. The writing and rehearsal process for the album was one that we didn’t want to hurry, either. So we spent some time letting the new songs mature before we took them into the studio. This plus the odd British tour and festival season pretty much had us flat out working for the whole time.
VP: Your upcoming follow up ‘One Thousand Pictures’ arguably has a more rounded, fuller sound. It’s eclectic yet possibly more cohesive than your debut, did you have a definite idea of how you wanted the album to sound from the outset or did it kind of evolve?
PETE: Similarly to the last album, I think it’s sound is very much defined by the personality of the songs that we chose to put on it, rather than the other way round. I think due to the fact that we recorded ‘As Live’ there is cohesiveness similar to what you might experience at a gig. I’m glad you said it’s eclectic because each of the songs has it’s own stand out feel for me. I think Brendan Lynch also had a very clear vision of how he wanted the songs to sound and his personality has really come though in the whole album, which ties it together nicely.
VP: The album is apparently all about motorcycles, blood, sex, guns and insanity, are these things that plague your dreams at night? Where do you take inspiration from?
PETE: That’s a hard question to answer, purely because when you are walking along and a lyric pops into your head, who knows where it came from! But now you mention it, Motorcycles blood guns sex and insanity; they seem like pretty normal things for a guy to concern himself with!
VP: Let’s take one song and analyse it under our pop microscope… ‘Cold Black Kitty’ what’s the story behind that particular song ?
PETE: What’s is interesting for us as a band is what meanings people take from our songs rather than trying to force meaning at them. The lyrics should act as a gateway into your own imaginings rather than a window into ours. Does that sound really pretentious? You could argue that that song is about a cat that just wants to come inside….
VP: What plans for the album launch and indeed the rest of the year ?
PETE: Think the album launch is gonna be a killer show. Heaven is a great music venue. The rest of the year for us brings touring the UK all through May. Then some festivals in the Summer. Plus we’re currently bouncing songs back and forth to start working on for Album three. Pretty exciting times to be honest.
VP: You’re releasing the album on CD and vinyl and download, I speak to some artists and fans who don’t bother with the physical format these days, personally I like something tangible, but what’s your preferred format and why?
PETE: It’s great to be able to have quick easy access to new music from your bedroom. But I don’t think it compares with the joy of going to a record shop, buying a record and opening it on the bus ‘cos you can’t wait to get home. Record and CDs look and feel great. Also they sound hugely better than MP3s. It’s a no brainer for me.
VP: Over the time you’ve been together what have been the band highlights and lowlights?
PETE: Highlight’s are playing at a festival in Nyon, Switzerland, at night. Also Reading Festival, cos we’re from there. Lowlights could be sleeping in our van in wintery Berlin ‘cos we mis-booked the hotel. Oh and breaking down on the way to Leeds festival ‘cos we tried to fit our backline and the band in a (dearly departed) Nissan Micra.
VP: What have been your favourite albums so far this year?
PETE: Gruff Rhys ‘Hotel Shampoo’Bill Callahan ‘Apocalypse.’
VP: What advice would you give to your 14 year old self?
PETE: Probably wouldn’t listen to myself anyway.
VP: Five words to sum up ‘ One Thousand Pictures’ ……
PETE: Why not see for yourself!
- Songs To Learn And Sing – Birdland, Mechanical Bride, The Rialto Burns. (vonpipmusicalexpress.wordpress.com)
- Pete And The Pirates – “Hidden Depps” Interview (vonpipmusicalexpress.wordpress.com)
- Surfer Rosa (quasherthoughts.wordpress.com)
- Pete Lawrie: A Little Brighter – review (guardian.co.uk)