Garrett Pierce

Garrett Pierce

Garrett Pierce

City of Sand

Narnack Records

I guess alt rock can cover just about anything from klezmer to Mantovani, but in the case of Mr. Pierce he’s taken a middle road and explored rock and roll as if it had matured in a linear fashion. His rhythms stand stark and taut, emitting an urgency that his forebears broadcast through anger and political angst and a playing philosophy of “I can’t use this axe well, but I can get what I need done.” “Everybody Breaks” is a strong opener, a competent composition without unneeded flourishes, and highlights his smooth and controlled vocals. “Song to a Prostitute” takes an aggressive title and tones it down to a lonesome pedal steel lament. The transition makes your neck snap. By the time we get to titular “City of Sand,” he’s returned to a middle ground, his vocals still commanding full attention as he speaks of… well, I’m not sure, but I like the sound.

Mr. Pierce is born and bred in California, and between his vocals and writing ability it seems he’s half a century too late. His sensibility could have given the Beach Boys some solid competition, not that he’s attempting a beach sound or singing about cars and girls — thank god we are all beyond that pimple-ridden phase of rock and roll. What I’m saying is Mr. Pierce feels like he “gets” the entirety of rock styling and can pick and choose elements as he needs. He reveals the overriding perspective that all the various styles of rock make a giant net that encompasses this generation, and in that musical mirror he can reflect ourselves back to make a point or make us cry.

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