Writers Without Homes
Piano Magic, a band with a well-earned reputation for shifting musical styles not only from release to release, but often within the same album, deliver a solid set of tracks on this release. Writers Without Homes, opens up with “(Music Won’t Save You From Anything But) Silence.” At first listen, you strain your ears to listen to the soft tones and discern what is being said before the rhythm section kicks everything into high gear. The drums pound and the bass hold everything in place as a series of ethereal guitars cascade over the track. Unsurprisingly this is the track that probably “rocks” the most and even as it progresses you suspect there is something different here. The remaining tracks display a palpable sense of restraint. The next track, “Postal,” juxtaposes what sounds like a toy piano with the a most unchildlike set of lyrics recounting a postal employee who leaves her post due to allergies but keeps the last day’s letters.
Listening to this release is a lot like sifting through those letters, found moldering in an old abandoned flat. Piano Magic excels at creating sonic landscapes of disequilibrium, a sense of vertigo, of evanescence. Perhaps the most haunting track that displays this ability is the next to last track, “Already Ghosts.” The track begins with what sounds like an Indian speaker sounding out the word “Ghosts.” A word that is repeated over and over as if the speaker is trying to recall what it might mean or as if he is trying to get his mind to wrap around the concept. This is a tale of love gone awry and of a solemn attempt to get things right, at least in the narrators mind. As she sings, “My diary bears this out, but memory has it wrong. I loved you when you loved me and then we were done.”
At their finest, Piano Magic craft something special, a sound and vision as harrowing as it is heartfelt. While at times their lyrics almost approach self-parody in their steadfast gloomy vision, the music reveals enough passion and intelligence to rescue it from the most blatant varieties of parody and pretension.
4 AD Records: http://www.4ad.com