David Nyro – Skeleton at the Feast
It’s strange to think that even the authors of the wildest set of creative ideas go through a process at the end of which, if they are lucky, get to be greeted as some kind of conservative emissary of knowledge.
Peter Gabriel, the artist who most reminds me of David Nyro, was the oddest, and arguably, the greatest thing that the early British prog-rock scene produced. His dressing up as a fox, or shaving his head in weird ways would have made people collapse in shock at the time. Years later, streaming services may go so far as to call his work adult contemporary.
It’s really only a matter of perception, and the same can be said about David Nyro’s Skeleton at the Feast. On the surface level, this is a tune by a man that possesses well-groomed vocals and who is capable of writing sophisticated pop. Below that veneer, though lie some brave musical ideas and lyrics discussing matters regarding loss and mortality. One man’s pop-singer is another man’s art-rock pioneer.
Piqued Jacks – Elephant
I miss the days when rock bands used to dream of the big time and actually hit the charts with hit singles. I can still remember fans arguing about the merits of new songs, or about whether their favourite bands had traded out some of the qualities of their earlier art for pop success.
Sadly, we are rarely treated to these kinds of debates anymore, since the charts are not exactly as relevant, and, besides, they try to keep rock acts as far away from them as they possibly can. Rock has broken up into smaller tribes.
For a moment we can pretend though, can’t we? Piqued Jacks’ Elephant sounds like a rock band making all the moves to get their song on the radio and their carefully designed, imaginative video on MTV.
The tune finds the group walking a tightrope between anthemic pop singing and indie rock displays. It sounds like the tune the record label might implore a band. It’s the kind of song that would make the label love the group for a while once the record is out and selling. Elephant catchy, hooky and even your parents may enjoy it. Why not pretend rock is still living large?