Like Pioneers – Piecemeal

January 01, 1970



(Abandoned Love)


Fans of Like Pioneers’ progenitor bands – Bound Stems, the
Narrator, Chin Up, Chin Up — will find a few familiar strands in this new
conglomeration, but they’re much more likely to hear the pop sensibilities of
The New Pornographers, only without all the big names. Singer-guitarist Bobby
Gallivan and Janie Porch harmonize like A.C. Newman and his various lady
friends, especially on the near-perfect power pop of “Gift From a Holiday” and a
wistful slice of intelligent, Brit-inflected pop called “English Garden.”
The pump organ-and-glock accented “Teakettles No. 1” and “Crab Candy” tilt
toward the more complex structures of Dan Bejar’s circus carney compositions, less
the cryptic lyrics and with debatable success.


Thankfully, Like Pioneers tap into enough other elements to
keep them from being a cheap Pornographers knock-off. There’s an early
Superchunk vibe (plus more keys) that lends fire to the sublimely catchy
“Polkadot” and disheveled pop-punk of “Metal Oscar,” while the poignant “Some
People” and “Exit Row” sound like they might have emanated from a slightly more
optimistic Handsome Furs. Really the only track that sounds more like it came
from the fractured and frenetic universes of Bound Stems or the Narrator is
“Ike,” notable for its shifting tempos. All 10 songs were pounded out in the
studio over a three-day weekend, and they exude a comforting “hot mic” feel that
gives the middling hooks a welcome push into the just-memorable-enough


Oscar,” “Some People” JOHN SCHACHT

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