Normally, it's quite easy to get the information you need; just Google the band name, with sometimes the addition of an album title and there it is, the basic information to introduce the band for the CD review. Now, Pirate made it hard on me-hard to find any information-so today I am very happy with the information sheets that came with the new album.
Pirate is an Australian band, which plays an impressive combination of progressive music, drenched in fusion and experimental music. Formed in 2007 and after playing live a lot, Left Of Mind is the result of all the years together and for me the first acquaintance with Pirate.
The first thing that comes to notice is the use of saxophone as one of the leading instruments; vocalist Joel Woolf is the one who is responsible for a sax sound that could set a new standard in sax playing for the future as his instrument is electronically triggered to produce a diversity of sounds, from keyboards to a distorted guitar. Along the way he sometimes uses the saxophone as his microphone to get special effects on his voice. In the title track you can hear samples of Joel's musicality. Together with a powerful bass played by Ben Norvill and adventurous drummer Tim Adderley, the sound gets really extraordinary. Guitar player Shan Abey adds a lot of power as well with his stunning playing. In the following song, Animals Cannibals the line of the first song continues, only the addition of more electronics gives the song a more open character and by that, more open to the average music listener. Rough Shuffles shows a more conventional saxophone sound and could be seen as a very heavy way of giving tribute to Mahavishnu Orchestra and could be placed in line with German band Panzerballett. A brilliant, spacy bass sound leads us into In The Balance, with distorted vocals, which almost gives the song a modern rock twitch. The relaxed picked guitar and the reasonably easy sounding composition, makes this the most accessible song of the album. Finish is a relaxed piece of music, which has the saxophone as lead, almost classical, this song is. Creepy opens very soft with a slow bass, that hides in the bushes to grab you with a cacophony of noises. It's then time to pick up some speed with Daggers, which has a cool, powerful basic melody and heavy guitars with a distorted voice. As topping we have an oriental sounding sax, to make the pleasure complete. For someone who is into the guitar, Daggers is a very impressive showcase. The last song on the only thirty one minute CD is Time Minus Five, nice and spacy, with the perfect combination of heavy guitars and a wailing sax-a great way to end an impressive debut album from our Australian friends.
I think Pirate created a unique album, by using the saxophone as a leading instrument, combining progressive and heavy jazz to something of their own. Not a regular progressive rock album, but for ones that like some adventure in their music, should give these Australians a chance-you won't regret it. Pirate sets a new standard in progressive jazz.
***+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Robert James Pashman)
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