Home > Bargain > Piebald – All Ears, All Eyes, All the Time

Piebald – All Ears, All Eyes, All the Time

SideOneDummy Recordings, 2004

Piebald is known around the Boston area as an energetic rock band that was rather shy on national success (per usual) but full of local success.  I also have grown to like these guys because they don’t come across as pretentious or run of the mill, and coupled with the fact that they’re local to me, I do appreciate them even if it’s a tempered reception.  Like I said, they’re a good band, but despite all their records, they may not be everyone’s taste depending on a few minute elements.  This can get a little hard to explain.

Piebald’s fifth release has an exceptionally fetching album cover as well as the rather full compositions that one may not expect from a typical rock band.  There’s only four guys in the band but they fill a lot of empty space with layers of guitars as well as creative drumming by Jon Sullivan.  The vocals of Travis Shettel can be a deal breaker for some, for although he sings clear and rivals the energy amassed by the entire band, I can’t help but hear traces of a smug cleverness.  It probably isn’t his intention, but you know how it is with vocalists; people are drawn to some while repelled by others for little things like pronunciation or style.  If one reads into the lyrics they don’t reek of obnoxiousness, so whatever you hear from Shettel at least you can appreciate the writing.

It could be that Shettel only unnerves me for some tracks more than others because track itself comes off a little too cheeky.  “Haven’t Tried It” has a catchy flow but sounds a little too cutesy for these guys, which makes me think they wanted this particular song to become popular with its overall feeling of handclappy feel goodedness.  I hate that stuff.  However, Piebald does have a few great tunes like “The Jealous Guy Blues”, “Giving Cup”, and “The Song That Launched a Thousand Ships” that clearly illustrate they can burst out with rock when they need to (or just should).  “Get Old or Die Trying” is another winner with its heightened force from the guitars and drums before the album slips into a few sleepy tracks.  A few tunes to listen to:

You can check out a few of their songs on their MySpace page.

I have to call this dollar bin grab a Bargain because there really are some great rock tracks on this album that illustrate how good these guys were.  Piebald only put out one more album after this one before ending their long career together, which is bound to happen even with some of the most supported bands.  I do like the fact that these guys didn’t buy into the dance rock or electronic effects stuff that some more modern bands try to pull off.  Piebald certainly stuck by the approach that had worked for them for years, which is why this record is as good as any to check to see if one might like them.  For not very much money, I think they certainly should be.  I need a few more casual fans like me to wait for the reunion gathering.

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