The Pietasters - Don't Wanna Know (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The Pietasters

Don't Wanna Know (2007)


Having been tossed around from label to label, riding the ska craze to the end, and losing almost all original members, some bands just need to hang it up. The Pietasters, however, are clearly not one of them.

After a phenomenal but abbreviated stint on Fueled by Ramen (which is now putting out "phenomenal" material from Paramore and Cute Is What We Aim For), the Pietasters were left with no label and no label support, save for a rarities collection from the short-lived VMS Records, which folded earlier this year. Never one to succumb to a challenge, in May the Pietasters announced the launching of Indication Records (named after their Zombies cover that appeared on 1992-1996?), partnered with to provide Don't Wanna Know for free, and the Pietasters were officially back.

After 15 years, it's hard to really be taken aback by the Pietasters. They've been too good for too long, and chances are they always will be. Don't Wanna Know suffers only from brevity, and the three tracks showcased are a superb paradigm of the Pietasters' impeccable range and classic songwriting.

The upbeat title track bats lead-off, with a punchy hornline and lyrics that every Joe Beendumpedbefore can relate to: "I don't wanna know where you spend the night / 'Cause if it was known, then baby I just might / Find your little friend, and tell him who I am / [...] / If I ever meet him, I might just have to beat him / 'Cause that's the way I treat 'em / And I don't wanna know." The production level isn't nearly what it was on earlier records like Awesome Mix Tape #6, but unsurprisingly, the Pietasters seem to thrive at any production level. "Dream of You" follows with a placid reggae tempo and the soulful crooning of Stephen Jackson over a chorus of "oooo"s.

In 2003, the Pietasters were tapped by the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, as his backup band for a sold-out gig in their hometown of Washington, D.C. "Fozzy Pt. 1" is a feel-good Motown punk tune that remains inventive while rooted in classic songwriting formulas, with a driving rhythm and horn-based structure.

Don't Wanna Know is just a small taste of the Pie, but like any good vendor, the Pietasters know that even a small sample is enough to get hooked. For when the full-length comes out, there's going to be a lot of hungry fans eager to gorge themselves on the delectable sounds of the Pietasters.