Talmage Monroe (vocals/guitar), Slade Mankins (bass) and Sebastian Hobbes (drums) are the three-piece band The Pieces. Their self-titled album The Pieces was released last November but Monroe and Mankins have been writing music together since 2003.
The album revolves around pop/rock songs that usually have a tinge of sadness behind them. I was trying to pinpoint where the melancholy was coming from and most of the time I felt like it was coming from the vocals. The music is often melodic revolving around pretty, warm guitar melodies and an impressive rhythm section.
The band gets going with “Seaside Limbs” which is indicative of the type of quality you will be presented with for the rest of the album. In some ways I was reminded of the excellent band The Clientele in the way the guitar melodies intersect. It’s a catchy song with a heartfelt vocal performance.
“Monument” rains with melodies that drip down your conscience. Monroe sounds pained at times with his delivery and sounds similar to Hamilton Leithauser from The Walkmen and even Matt Berninger from The National at times. The band continues to deliver the goods with “Blue Riot” and “Only Me.”
“I Have A Big Wish Now” was a highlight and a song that struck a good balance between hope and melancholy. The guitar work is absolutely stellar on this track and I can say the same thing about the bass, drums and vocals. The Pieces is a consistently solid album on which the band is able to define their sound. Upon first listen a lot of the songs sound similar but after the third or fourth listen the differences start to make themselves known.
Overall, The Pieces is a great debut effort and certainly one you will want to spend some time with.
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