Thursday, July 14, 2016

Review: Nick Piunti - Beyond The Static

The basic needs of humanity are pretty simple: food, water, shelter, companionship, sex, and electric guitars. Okay, okay... so there is some debate about the absolute necessity of sex but the others are indisputable.

I'm pretty sure Nick Piunti would agree with me on this, as his 2015 release Beyond The Static is crunchy guitar power pop at its most elemental and vital. The approach here both in songwriting and production is direct. There are no baroque flourishes to distract a listener, only good, simple, honest tunesmithing by a skilled practitioner of the art. It's a sound, part Posies, part Matthew Sweet, part 70's bar band, that defined the center of power pop in the first decade of the 21st Century. It is as worn and warm as a favorite comfy sofa. The only thing required is to sink into it and feel good.

"It's a Trap" kicks things off with high energy and a driving beat. It is the sort of song that pulls you along because it is so straightforward and earnest. In a similar vein "Time Machine" piles on the chunky power chords and keeps things revved up to a high pitch.

Songs like "Six Bands," the closest thing to a ballad on the record, give us a bit of a breather with its clever lyric expounding on a girl "drowning in the talent pool." The bouncy strum of "Seven Days a Week" is another winner, as is the highly polished "Fell For You" which wears its heart on its sleeve, which a song this direct and heartfelt should. Once again, the feel is just right.

The absolute best thing on the record is the second track on it, "Heart Stops Beating." It is a glorious power pop tour de force filled with hand claps, call and response vocals, dreamy sounding keyboards, and one of the most perfectly placed "hey!"s in the history of rock music. Alone this song would make the album worth picking up. The fact that so much of the album is also terrific makes it all the better.

Maybe owning this record wouldn't forestall the need for sex forever, but it would sure make celibacy a lot more tolerable.


Grade: A-


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