Pete And The Pirates, Little Death

Neil Mason

By Neil Mason

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Small towns have a healthy place in musical history. Reading, though, makes something of an odd entry. Famous for its annual rock festival, it's nonethless lacking in famous musical sons. There's Mike Oldfield, Antony from Blue and, well, the Cooper Temple Clause.

Reading quintet debuts with some strong, offbeat indie-pop.

So what chance does Reading five-piece Pete & The Pirates have? When you're young, male and pedalling offbeat upbeat pop tunes, there's always a chance. Clocking in at a brisk 35 minutes, with a hint of early Blur swagger about the proceedings, Little Death is all about picking up girls, staying up all night and legging it in the morning. Sure, there will be knowing glances at the line “Get out of bed, it's the wrong one,” from single “Knots” — but, then again, it's all about bed here (and how bewildering life is once you're up).

What Pete & the Pirates do well is pack real pop punch. Some cars can't accelerate as fast as “Dry Your Wings,” which builds to a discordant, swollen jangle in under three minutes. No worries: they also do gentle thrum with aplomb — “Humming” and “Moving” show they have more in the tank than just gas. Ultimately, this is an impressive debut of charming backwater sonnets that tread a similar path to Stereophonics'fine debut Word Gets Around — a record they never managed to better.

With Little Death, Reading expects. No pressure, boys.