We are delighted to feature this review of the album written by Veronique Noelle, a musician and songwriter from Vancouver, Canada.
For their second release, Piefight have grown into a five-piece band, with Ann Topping on drums, Kim Meyers on bass, Susan Yudt on keyboards, Leah Robbins on guitar, and now dedicated vocalist Michelle Panulla, another Ladies Rock Camp alumna. On Ripe, the band's first release, they showed an interesting, creative sound that was all their own. Adding strong lead vocals didn't change everything, but it certainly made something good even better.
Leadoff song "Right Here" kicks things off strong. Very good vocals with an interesting melody. The slow bridge intrigues before the song breaks into the final chorus. Piefight is a band with some really good changes of feel within songs, which keep your ear engaged. "Same Old Story" starts with a jazzy feel before settling into its groove. Yes, this is where I thought 10,000 Maniacs, in a good way. (I think the Natalie Merchant feel in Panulla's voice comes from the way they both end phrases.) The minor-key chorus is an interesting change. Love the slithery guitar break over pretty piano. "Roadside" starts all pretty and then kicks into a mid-tempo classic rock feel, with a slightly countrified double-time chorus. Very strong vocal from Panulla, especially on the chorus.
And then..."Beg," a delightful surprise that leads off with bass through an effect followed by big open drums (snare off, which works great here), then bright guitar. Slow and driving. This band is not afraid to leave space in the sound as well. The thought of Jim Morrison upon hearing the chanted, poetic lyrics was also a delightful surprise. The closer "Soldier" worked less well for me, but there is still much to like. Again, there are engaging changes of texture and tempo. I am again delighted to get a Doors feel from the snakey guitar lines over the piano.