It’s been about three years since Pete and the Pirates released jangly upbeat debut Little Death.
The Reading outfit’s forte remains well-observed, ditsy, easy on the ear and infectious indie although One Thousand Pictures is far less carefree and jaunty than its predecessor.
There has been a definite maturation, both lyrically and musically, with a real preference for slightly psychedelic, pithily whimsical songs about the British way of life. Sanders timeless songwriting ability of capturing the everyday ponderings and personal portrait we got from Ray Davies in his pomp. Encapsulated by ‘Come to the Bar’, a celebration and critique of drinking culture (you decide) or album closer ‘Half Moon Street’, a lovely, wistful ballad about a couple held together only a shared love of drinking.
Tom Sanders’ distinctive and emotive vocals triumph alongside the band’s often eccentric and downright peculiar music. As well as the touching and rousing there is an underlying sense of fun to One Thousand Pictures. be it the adorably infectious ‘Motorbike’, the more experimental ‘Winter1’ and it’s off-kilter synth channelling to the perfect pop of ‘United’.
One Thousand Pictures is both melancholic and beautiful, fragile and robust and rowdy and rousing without ever feeling forced or misplaced. Not since Mystery Jets’ 21 has there been an indie-pop album so close to perfection. They don’t come around very often so enjoy the moment.