by Diana Ciuca
To say this isn’t my style of music would be a lie. To say it is would be a stretch. Somehow, my feelings on Piebald span from uninterested to quite moved. Now, the band is looking back at former hits and releasing a 3 Volume compilation seriesWhile listening to the two discs of their newest CD, Volume I, their earlier years, I occasionally paused and appreciated the blaring sounds as more than just background music. Undoubtedly, they have a genuinely unique style that does not necessarily fall under the preferences of an indie rocker nor an alternative lover. .
Formed in 1994, Piebald flourished in the underground scene releasing song after song. They depicted the indie/hardcore crossover, which is why, possibly, their sound is so fresh. At the first few plucks of the guitar in Protagonist, I fell in love with the contrast of the harshness of the lead singer’s voice, yet the guitars sound grew and disappointingly, the singer’s voice was lost. Nevertheless, the song takes a soothing intermission, as many of their songs do, and allows the guitar to finally breathe without having to compete wit any singer for air. Discordant voices are scattered in every song, sometimes creating a dual harmony with two singers. While this might work for the better (such as in Two Rocking Chairs on a Porch), quite often the result is a distraction from the smooth dance between the guitar and the drums (such as in Pretty Face). The seemingly sporadic guitar mingles on occasion with a progressively faster drum throughout most songs, generating a wave of music which culminates in the lead singer’s lyrics.
Once in a while, a song will sound absolutely unrelated with the rest of the album, like Piano Song in a Minor, but these oddities achieve the desired effect of keeping the listener on his/her feet. Nevertheless, the songs seem to display a similar pattern, of a simple, eloquent beginning, such as in Intro and Small Town Outside of Boston, where it almost sounds as if notes are gently falling onto the ground. But, the songs completely change to a more grating, almost blaring noise. This cacophony eventually give way to the retreating guitar, giving most songs, most not all, am idyllic ending.
Both discs of Volume I represent the roots of hardcore indie music, as Piebald has slightly emo tendencies (yet they are almost as frequent as their propensity to play surf rock). With few exceptions, these songs entertain the senses since they amass a harmony of sounds that most would not expect. Even if a obscurely pleasant harmony is not what the band members were going for, the album is still packed with energy that is sure to amplify at a live show.
Be sure to check out Piebald at Bamboozle in May as they embark upon a reunion tour and release two more volumes of their CDs, featuring ancient, lost versions of their songs that will make you beyond nostalgic for the 90s.