There’s been a buzz around Piston for some time now, they’ve been featured on our own pages a number of times over the past few years and as a live act, they seem to have earned one hell of a (well-deserved) reputation. Now, after grafting their arses off for several years, they’ve finally delivered an album. Indeed, the opening line of the opening track, “Dynamite”, has nailed it: “C’mon, c’mon, it feels so right”. Not even scraping the two and a half minute mark and a charging hard rock song, this is their statement piece for the remainder of the album.
Piston have nailed their album. They’ve worked and worked to get to the point where they can justify releasing a solid collection of songs without a single weak link. Ten songs, 35 minutes – it’s as lean an album as you can get. Whilst the phrase may be one of the most clichéd in the music industry nowadays, this really is all killer, no filler. It’s an album full of ballsy hard rock anthems, blending modernity with classic nods and a couple of down-tempo numbers to hit the appropriate troughs to balance the peaks. And they do both so well.
“Go Now” and “One More Day” are full of grit and heft. Charging forward with more speed than a bullet, there’s a radio-friendly sheen to them in amongst it all. It’s something which is present throughout the entire album as they play with various different styles. There’s the bluesy moment of “Carry Us Home” with its acoustic intro, you think it’s going to be the album’s ballad. Then it kicks in with its Slash-esque riff and becomes the album’s big ballad.
“Beyond Repair” has a chunky, jagged riff to it as it grinds and bites its way to the finish line. Meanwhile, “Blow it Away” takes things into a more swagger-led territory with hints of funk and it’s a bombast you’d expect on an up-tempo Bad Touch number. And naturally, closer “Into the Night” has one hell of a crescendo to end the album on a high. Whilst stylistically, there’s toying with what a Piston song can be, every song fits within the band’s mission statement and nothing feels out of place.
With everything well-mixed, you can hear each of the five-piece pulling their respective weight; dual guitars snake around each other – egging each other on at points and, backing one another up at others. Bass rumbles with a leviathan quality to it, lying beneath the surface or taking centre stage, you always know its there. It ties in with the drums which will ensure your foot will be tapping or you’ll have a full-on bangover. And lyrically, there’s nothing on these ten tracks you can’t relate to as its delivered by powerhouse vocals.
This is how all bands should handle their debut album: with reverence for the format of the album itself and what it means – a band truly announcing themselves to the world. Piston have done so expertly, waiting for the planets to align with having the best material they could and releasing it because they wanted to, not to satiate anyone else. Sure, the wait for it has been long, but it’s been worth it.
Header image by Rob Blackham