Piston rev up on self-titled debut album

It’s always nice to feel an affinity with a band that I am reviewing; it’s also nice if you learn something new…I may be on a par with Methuselah, but I am always willing to learn. My affinity with Piston and their self-titled debut album is one of geography. Before my most welcome early retirement, I often found myself working in the land of Piston…well most of them; all but vocalist Rob, who is from darn sarf, hail from the county of the potteries. I spent many a day working in Stoke and many an alcohol-fuelled night in Newcastle-under-Lyme where this album was recorded: I did not know that modest little town has a studio. All of those hours spent in Marloes, Yates, and even Reflex when there was sufficient lubrication makes me feel close to this band and my rock and blues background gives me hope for the future when I listen to this powerful rock with hints of blues delivering a very promising start. They were awarded a spot on the New Wave of Classic Rock Rising Stage at Ramblin’ Man Fair and they’ll also be playing Planet Rock’s Winter’s End next February and so are already garnering attention from the UK media.

Onto the music, and the album opens with the suitably explosively titled Dynamite. It is a short stab of mature rock ‘n’ roll with a quality, a simplistic riff, a sing-a-long chorus and neat guitar duet, although it is a bit heavily phased to appreciate fully. It does pack a punch in its less than two and a half minutes. Rainmaker is heavy blues that Rob nails with his varied vocal approach…the guitars give him space when needed and then sling in a riff that has bite then delivers a proper, quality rock guitar solo. Go Now will surprise after the two openers as we get a funk-tinged staccato rock of the sort that Lenny Kravitz is so good at…but this has a weightier feel that the line “party like it’s ‘89” shows they hit the target sound.

Carry Us Home has a ballad styled start with acoustic patterns that sound a little like Nazareth’s Sunshine. The vocals are spot on and, when the riff cuts in, it transforms into a heavy ballad of the electric Marsden variety, and the short solo is hesitant but effective. One More Day travels back in time to the days when punk was being cocktailed by proper rock and this could fit well on a Michael Monroe album. It’s good time song with a strong melody and instrumentation as well as a paradoxical message about always looking to move forward…a pity we don’t get a solo or three…but, as usual, that’s probably just me. Beyond Repair comes next and the foot-drum beat gives serious weight and, when the riff joins in, it becomes a very good slice of melodic rock. The bridge is the audience participation piece before we revisit the early melody and no proper solo again!

Leave If You Dare has a southern rock feel to the main riff and will soon lock itself into your brain…my favourite because of the variation throughout from all of the band and, praise be, we get a solo as well as some nice runs between the verse pauses. Blow It Away has another catchy as hell riff with staccato attack and then into a very ‘90s rock motif with a brilliant bass line there too, if you listen hard. The next singe methinks?! Let Us Rise follows a classic (small ‘c’) structure and the chords behind the verses are great and we get a proper solo from both Jack and Luke albeit woefully short for my preferences. Into the night wraps the album up with a Blue Cheer carefree approach that works well as it develops into a psychedelic styled song of quality.

There are two more songs…the almost obligatory remixes (that takes us neatly back to Stoke as a Remix there is a remoulded truck tyre…yes, really). They don’t add much to the first versions of One More Day and Rainmaker but it’s fun trying to spot the differences.

This is a solid debut which, while it isn’t earth-shattering, it does show a band that are full of skill, craft and imagination and I am confident that the next one will be even better.

(The ‘fumbled fingers’ on my iPod meant that I was listening to the avant-garde sounds of Pinnacle from their Assassin album…a sort of Trower meets Gabriel era Genesis…different but rather good.)

EIGHTpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …

Track listing:

  1. Dynamite
  2. Rainmaker
  3. Go Now
  4. Carry Is Home
  5. One More Day
  6. Beyond Repair
  7. Leave If You Dare
  8. Blow It Away
  9. Let Us Rise
  10. Into The Night
  11. One More Day (remix)
  12. Rainmaker (remix)

All songs written by Piston


Rob Angelico: vocals

Jack Edwards: guitar

Luke Allatt: guitar

Stuart Egan: bass

Brad Newlands: drums

Produced by Dan Swift

Remixes by Romesh Dodangoda

Recorded at Silk Mill Studios, Newcastle-under-Lyme

Piston rev up on self-titled debut album

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