This is a long overdue review of the Piebald’s final album “Accidental Gentlemen.” I received a review copy the same night that I finally saw Piebald, as well as the same night that both RockitBomb pod-casts where born. I was saddned to find out that Piebald called it quicks shortly after that interview.
I have been a fan of this band ever since I was originally introduced in college, through what most would say is Piebald’s finest record: “When Life Hands You Lemons.” This is a fine record, recorded at a time when the off-key vocals, buzzy bass, and off-time, yet catchy rythmns where far from most’s normal listening, and also at a time when the band epitomized what emo was. The lyrics crooned for times past and taking the long way home, and the band sold silk screen pillow cases and had a song titled “Holden Cauflield.”
That was ten years ago. A lot has happed since then, and Piebald has released many more records and honestly become a much better band, leaving some of they fans behind. “If It Weren’t for Venitian Blinds, It would be Curtains for Us all” saw the band’s songs becoming more rock oriented, and 2002’s “We are the Only Friends We Have” furthery cemented the band as a pop powerhouse; and quickly became of my all time favorite records.
2004 saw the release of “All Ears, All Eyes, All of the time” and featured frontman Travis Shettel playing piano on many tracks and featured some very mature and well written pop songs, bringing to mind at times everything from Ben Folds to The Beatles to Cheap Trick. A great record, but it took some time for me to get used to it, missing some of the more raw elements of their previous release.
“Accidental Gentlemen” brings back some of that rawness, and while talking to Travis in our podcast, Travis mentioned want to return to that raw and quick element, somewhat lamenting the approach taken to “All ears.” I must admit that I expected to be more blown away having heard that, but like almost every Piebald record, I love it more with every listen. The band has somehow been able to avoid becoming a cliche, and I think part of that has been their ability to realize what they are doing and not take themselves too seriously, yet seriously rock.
I will admit that this is not my favorite Piebald records, but highlights are “Opener,” “A friend of Mine,” “Strangers,” and “Shark Attack.” A lot of the songs on this record feel like they where recorded and written quickly compared to previous records. I don’t know if I am saying that because I know it was, but parts of the record don’t feel quite as thought out as previous efforts.
All in all, a good record by a great band. Check it out if you haven’t already, and check out our interview with Travis.