Piebald - We Are The Only Friends We Have (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


We Are The Only Friends We Have (2002)

Big Wheel Recreation

Piebald have themselves perched on an incredibly precarious tightrope but seem to keep their balance. They have a sound which could easily become quite popular given mainstream radio's recent tastes (Jimmy Eat World, Weezer, the pop-punk boom), however the album is released on Big Wheel Recreation, a rapidly growing but still relatively small independent label. This puts the band in the fantastic position of potentially being both successful and credible.

The band plays an indie rock / pop-punk hybrid which brings to mind Weezer or more mature versions of contemporary pop-punk bands. This being their sixth release (including EPs), the band is tight and put together some extremely catchy songs. Vocalist Travis Shettel successfully bridges the gap between energetic shouts and sensitive singing. The band manages to pepper their songs with acoustic guitars, keyboards, bongos, particularly well placed trumpets and, during the single "Just A Simple Plan," a choir of kindergartens. Lyrically the band pulls off yet another balancing act. The songs are written both introspectively and with a good amount of wit and humor (see "The Monkey Verses The Robot" or the opening to "The King Of The Road"). This is an asset, I'm compelled to recommend this band simply for having the common sense to realize that you can be funny without songs about feces, semen, or each other's mothers… like that numbered band we'll leave anonymous.

Paul Q. Kolderie, who's worked with Radiohead, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones and the Pixies, produced the album. The production values are at times a bit on the high side, but not enough to negatively affect the band's songs. To get a good feel for the album check out the layered mid-tempo "Fear And Loathing On Cape Cod," the Randy-like rock of "Rich People Can Breed," the acoustic guitar driven "It's Going To Get Worse Before It Gets Better," or the first single, "Just A Simple Plan." While "We Are The Only Friends We Have" may not break any new ground stylistically, it's a strong release and is full of energy. Hopefully Piebald can keep their balancing act going, because it's an impressive one.