Pick a Piper – ‘Pick a Piper’ (City Slang Records)

Pick a Piper – ‘Pick a Piper’ (City Slang Records)

When you ordinarily play in a band and then decide to branch out on your own whatever it is you do will almost invariably be viewed within the wider context of your day job. When you are a drummer – and there seems to be no logical explanation for this other than the fact that you are a drummer – any such comparison will probably be odious. OK, so Phil Collins rather regrettably gives lie to this rather half-baked theory but you only have to speak to Ringo Starr, Roger Taylor and Tommy Lee about how their solo careers fared when they stepped outside of their respective motherships to see it is one that does have some merit.

But times and music change and nowadays it is not unusual for someone to have any number of side projects going on, often all at the same time. I mean, just ask Brad Weber. By night he sits behind the traps when that neo-psychedelic Canadian, Caribou is out on live action, whilst by day he drives by in a vehicle by the name of Pick a Piper with a little help from his friends. This loose musical collaboration already had a couple of digital-only EPs on its résumé before going the whole hog earlier on this year and knocking out a first full-length offering.

What energy they saved on thinking about a title for Pick a Piper they clearly then expended on creating the music therein for this record is something rather special. Given the Caribou association it is no little surprise to find a whole lot of swirling textured sound going on in that thoroughly modern dance sort of way. To achieve this, Weber created a moving platform of simultaneous, often contrasting synthetic rhythms and to this rather fluid template added a bunch of samples, muted horns and shuffling melodies before dispatching this embryo to a towering inferno of minor league indie luminaries such as Andy Lloyd of Born Ruffians and John Schmersal of Enon who then proceeded to add their individual ideas, voices and not inconsiderable oomph to help eventually deliver this Pick a Piper baby. All of which goes to show that Phil Collins is not the only drummer in the world who can positively shine outside the confines of a band.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Pick a Piper was released in Europe on 4th November 2013 through City Slang

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