self released, 2011, DD EP, 8m 57s, £free
Bass, guitar, drums, singing; these are well used ingredients, so for a band to stand out it needs to use them with a bit of imagination. Pirate & Cobie are in indie-rock territory, and that shapes their approach to a degree, but they give the impression of being there because it’s the music they love, not just because there’s a big audience for it, and they are quite highly creative in several ways.
Firstly, and most evidently, they have a taste for electronic sounds, and a good understanding of how to put them at the service of a song – all too often songs are made to serve electronics, because many producers only know how to make dance tracks. Here they are used like any other instrumental texture and slot in seamlessly to the arrangements, evincing a good bit of careful tweaking. Secondly, they would clearly like to avoid being formulaic, even if they are relatively conventional stylistically: devices such as ending a track abruptly mid play-out, as they do in ‘Not Here’, or their flexible approach to song structure, are evidence of a creative thought process that extends to every aspect of their work.
The real question for a band like this, is whether the songs are any good. Do they combine, lyric, melody, harmony, groove, texture and performance in a way that makes the listener feel something valuable just happened to them? Well, I have to hold up my hands and admit that this isn’t the sort of thing I tend to get very excited about, but the answer is yes. What they do is well worth doing, and they do it very well.