The Pietasters | All Day (Indication)

cd_pietastersIn their 17 years together, they have seen and done just about everything a late-breaking musician would name as an aspiration.






After a five-year hiatus from the studio, The Pietasters have released All Day, an effort that possibly does the best job out of all their albums in underlining the band's diversity of sound. The ghost of early Motown and the flavor of Jamaican soul meld with punk and straight rock influences into a back-of-the studio sound that induces nostalgia for those familiar to the taste and entices those who aren't.

In an album that bassist and songwriter Jorge Pezzimenti likens to a van ride with the band, The Piestasters defiantly challenge themselves to take a sound they have made famous and redefine it into something still recognizable yet fresh and current. In their 17 years together, they have seen and done just about everything a late-breaking musician would name as an aspiration. Humble D.C. area beginnings have lead to stages in Europe and across America, as well as a bizarre night playing as James Brown's band.

The influence of early American soul music shows through in the opening track "Change My Ways" which sets the mood for the rest of the CD as a collection of songs about the love between sometimes unsure participants. The feel of that notion is punctuated with a bouncy second track, "Don't Wanna Know." A more blatant sad note comes with "Late Night Call" which begins, "This emptiness I feel inside/ You're messing with a man and his wounded pride" and continues to summon soulful and emotionally tugging experiences in the listener with a slow and hypnotic rocksteady rhythm. This tenderly heart-wrenching style is echoed later on "Dream of You" and "Listen to Her Heart," both tracks that make falling in love a cautious affair that the band warns can include uninvited guests and variables beyond your control.

The break in genre comes in with "So Long," an all-out rocker á la 1960s garage bands like The Shadows of Knight, The Count Five, or The Animals. There are also a couple of fun instrumentals found in "Anj Gil" with its friendly sounding saxophone and calming keyboard flourishes, as well as "Sketch Dub," a more haunting and slow reggae-influenced piece. The closing track "G to F" offers an almost Caribbean or vaguely African feel and the confession, "I just can't wait to go somewhere/ But disappointed when I get there/ It's not you, it's me/ I'm crazy as a fool," suggesting that Pezzimenti may have been pretty accurate with his analogy to a journey with the band. A | Jason Neubauer

RIYL: The Specials, Hepcat, The Slackers, English Beat

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