Piano’s last EP was six years ago. Given the hyper-activity of their front-man this maybe isn’t all that surprising. Any artist is liable to change over time though, so the question is what resemblance do the Piano of 2014 bare to the Piano of 2008?
Pleasingly its a pretty startling resemblance. The band’s combination of dramatic melody and instrumental dexterity remains intact throughout. The songs are occasionally heavier this time around and noticeably longer though. Clearly the band have decided to indulge their progressive tendencies more than the pop ones that made 2008’s “The Valediction of Verse” so immediate.
The song-writing this time out might not be as concise, but it still plays to the bands strengths. The balance between intricate, almost delicate, melodic passages and driving, and occasionally pleasingly angular, heavier moments still defines this recording. Daniel Tompkins peerless vocals still lead from the front, often reaching stratospheric heights that almost defy belief, and are augmented incredibly well by some tasteful backing vocals. All this makes for a selection of tracks that sound huge, with additional thanks surely due to the production work of Keshav Dhar of Skyharbor.
“Salvage Architecture” does suffer from a couple of issues though. The bands progressive meandering can occasionally rob songs of momentum and though these tracks are certainly progressive in terms of technicality and length, there’s not that many new ideas across these tracks. Whether this is formulaic or a savy call of an artist playing to their serious strengths is open for debate. It’s hard to shake the impression that some of the tracks might have been over-thought. Although if they are, it’s just ever so slightly.
Piano’s full length debut will surely please fans of the band. If new fans give the record a chance, it will surely grown on them, and there’s plenty of music here that deserves to be given that time.It’s just a matter of whether in 2014 enough people will be willing to give themselves fully to getting to know a band across a 50 minute debut album.
“Salvage Architecture” is available in Japan now via Zestone Records. UK/Worldwide releases are expected sometime soon. Or at least within six years.