16 January 2008

Band of the Week: Pete and the Pirates

All outward appearances to the contrary, we actually try and stick to some semblance of an editorial schedule here at the EF headquarters. Perhaps you've noticed we generally feature bands on Wednesday afternoons? No? Oh, well, we generally feature bands on Wednesday afternoons, and we've been doing so with enough regularity that it's about time to properly anoint this feature. So here we go - welcome to EAR FARM's Band of the Week. Today, we set our sights back to the UK and upon an emerging quartet from Reading who seem to have "it" down pat. Say "arrrrrr" to Pete and the Pirates.

What is this "it" I speak of? And who is Pete?

"It" is kind of like the smell of burnt toast before a stroke, a proper warning that something bigger is around the corner. "It" is that slightly unexpected hook at just the right moment that makes your ears perk up and take notice. "It" just might make you assume that the band's gotten a hold of Rivers Cuomo's songwriting software program and put it to some actual good use. "It" is quite hard to describe in case you can't tell...

Okay fine, but who is Pete again? Two Petes actually (no not these guys). In addition to a Tommy (Sanders - vocals), his brother Jonny (Sanders - drums) and a David (Thorpe - guitars), Peter Cattermoul (bass, vocals) and Peter Hefferan (guitars, vocals) round out the quartet in addition to keeping the Pete-cred in check.

The band will release their debut full-length album Little Death on February 18th in the UK on Stolen Records (also the home of Band of the Week alums Screaming Tea Party). A collection of 13 taut blasts of spirited guitar pop, Little Death mines the familiar territory of love and relationships from a disarmingly simplified perspective. Make no mistake, these pirates are romantics through and through. And though their vocal harmonies and brash energy may recall the Futureheads and Franz Ferdinand respectively, they manage to expertly ration such overtly poppy 4-on-the-floor moments and dole them out at precisely the ideal moments. As a result, Little Death stands up to multiple listens - I should know, I've listened to it at least two dozen times over the last four weeks - in a way that albums by their immediate predecessors never could.

Some may recognize Tommy Sanders' distinctive voice from Tap Tap, his solo project that made a bit of a splash here in the States in 2006 with the album Lanzafame (released in the US by Catbird Records). Fans of Tap Tap's sing-song melodies and minor key flourishes will not be disappointed by Pete and the Pirates. In fact, at least one of the new tracks - "She Doesn't Belong To Me" - was originally a Tap Tap song that has since been pepped up and dressed in a sparkly-new full-band arrangement.

Despite extensive European dates lined up in support of the album, the band currently has no plans to come to the States - though Stolen Records told us they're hopeful a US tour will happen soon. For now, check out the videos for the two advance singles from Little Death below. It's officially swashbuckling season.

"Come on Feet" music video on YouTube
"Knots" music video on YouTube

Visit Pete and the Pirates on MySpace.

In the recent past, the following bands have been featured as EAR FARM's Band of the Week:
Dead Confederate
Throw Me The Statue
Screaming Tea Party
Pale Young Gentlemen
Department of Eagles