Julia Piker has a truly unique sound. Sometimes you’ll think she’s positively pop, while other times there’s an alternative spirit that will put you in mind of some really fascinating grungy acts like Red Hot Chili Peppers or Smashing Pumpkins. Let me explain.
If you start with the opening track of this album “Big Hands” there’s a biting cynicism ala Ben Folds that drives the lyrics. There’s an infectious, hooky melody at the heart of the piece. That said, the underlying punk attitude goes in a different direction from what the “pop” chord progression would lead you to believe. It’s really fascinating.
The following “Bullet” is artful. It reminds me of an abstract work of art, where you look and think, “what is this?” You recognize the colors and the shapes, but the macro impression takes a while to set in. The frenetic rhythm and layered vocals work to create a complicated track. You’ll want to listen to it several times just to contemplate its meaning.
“Wildly Inappropriate” is an ironic name for the structurally simplest song on the EP. It’s a poetic acoustic singer songwriter track. It shows that Piker is not a product of studio magic, as her stripped down style on this track still holds up. It seems like it’s probably about a situation in which a romantic attraction should not be there.
The final track “September” is the first track we heard from Piker and it stands out as the favorite. The writing is pure folk in the opening and then moves to a raucous rock song. The singing on the song brings us back to the opening comment about being like RCP and others. There’s a core punk vibe to the lyrics here that helps transition from the two styles in the track.
If you’re a fan of unique songwriters that personify the indie music world, Julia Piker is a great artist.