If you’re from any beach community, you’ve probably heard real surf music. It’s not just any kind of aggressive thrashing that might accompany your choice of eXtreme sports — certain elements need to be present. The rippling curl of a wave as it turns into white water shows up in the glassy shards of guitar that shred single notes for the emphasis of speed. Pounding tribal drums evoke the primal nature of man and water, fluid bass lines nose their way through intense tubes of sonic separation. When the thrashing is over and you’ve picked the sand out of your teeth, the music becomes quiet, contemplative — you sit on the beach and wind down.
Piller understands this. Yea, they understand.
“Parallel” has all the guys on their boards. The hurried two-four beat and lightning drum fills propel this screaming jet of a song with its wailing harmony and half-tempo midsection. Presumably the paddle back. “Silvereye” is an easygoing breeze with warm percussion by the resourceful Jason Williams, while “Cool Poseidon” is a blistering showcase for his machine-gunning pulse. Brother and lead singer Shaun Williams confronts his love of the waves with the lyrics “it’s so intense/seconds are the vertebrae/one slip, find out and you’ll pay.” But under the massive time changes and show stopping aggro is a message warning against polluting the world’s oceans. Guitarist Will Adams keeps up the crunch on “Anthem,” which sounds like it could’ve been on Metallica’s Load. Bassist Chris Bordner keeps things simple and eloquent.
Though Piller’s music is all about the crash and thrash of a neo-surf explosion, just below the surface are lyrics that address angry youth (“So Damn Cool”), busted relationships (“Last Memory”) and what this reviewer perceives as themes of spiritual conflict (“Remember When”). The slick packaging of the album makes it difficult to read some of the lyrics, a counterproductive move if you have something incredibly important to say to your audience — but it doesn’t stand in the way of enjoying heart-pounding shred-fests like “Ocean Blue” and “Call It Off.” The haunting slow-tempo track “Sorry I Made You Live” is a standout sing along number that Shaun pours great passion into. At the midpoint break, the song leaps into a quickstep muted mosh that plays nicely with the head before the ranting finale. The opening to “Catch It” is frightening and shouldn’t be listened to in a boat on the water. Period. The album ends with the aptly titled “Drum Show,” a regular show-ender for the group which features an extended jam between Bordner on bass and everybody else on various percussion. It’s this rolling, popping, booming, slapping, coco nutty and ever-quickening display of beatwork that should have your ass out the door, into a wetsuit, and on a board before you can say “skag.” Eat this one for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Aggro Records, 3500 Aloma Avenue, Suite W-24, Winter Park, FL 32792