Quick Hitters:: The Pinecones Sage

A few years ago, I fell in love with the Newman/McCartney-esque pop that Hali’s Brent Randall and his trusty Pinecones put out. We Were Strangers… was an ear pleasing slice of orchestral pop, bursting at the seams with tons of studio musicians chiming in on any and every instrument you can think of, all working together to deliver Randall’s vision.

The songs turned out great, but the process and logistics must have been draining. It only makes sense that this time around, Randall has trimmed down the band to four full-time members (himself, Brian O’Reilly, Joel Goguen and Paul Linklater) and shared the song writing duties with each member. The results - the 16 song effort Sage - are less polished, much more psychedelic and honestly, more lasting.

From the tambourine laced opener, Sage to the heavier riffs of tracks like Ardmore Jenny or shimmering, sunshine-y pop hits like Never Seen The Likes, this record will instantly appeal to a wider (read PRO-Beatles) audience. Randall’s always been open with his admiration for Macca, but the transition to a more Fab Four style writing arrangement gives the band a freedom that was impossible when Randall was the only pen. It also gives the band the chance to play more shows and build a much larger fan base.

The band blends styles and influences nicely, relying on solid harmonies and 60′s UK subject matter, but the melodies work because they are rougher and more accessible. The four songwriters experiment with different inspiration without having to fit the sounds into the narrow, albeit enjoyable, focus of Randall’s previous work. I don’t think the bluesy 5 o’Clock Shadow (of a Moonbeam) would have worked in any previous incarnation of the band, but the more classic sounding Randall songs aren’t hurt by the stripped back arrangements.

If Randall had turned around and written another record of orchestral pop, it undoubtedly would have been just as enjoyable as his last effort, but would have felt stagnant. With Sage, you see him stretching his comfort level and benefiting from the experience of his talented band, and delivering some 70′s inspired gems (the undeniable charm of the theatrical Mr. Shoemaker Man and the Sunday afternoon ready Tea Tonight are the two album standouts).


MP3:: The Pinecones - Tea Tonight
MYSPACE:: http://www.myspace.com/brentrandall

This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 19th, 2010 at 9:33 am and is filed under Brent Randall, Quick Hitters, The Pinecones. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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