As odd as its title
Supergroup Piroshka debuts with Brickbat, a curious assortment of alternative songs, courtesy of members Miki Berenyi, KJ McKillop, Mick Conroy and Justin Welch. Lyrical highlights occasionally leap from the murky waters, and an assortment of sounds drop in and float around, some from outer space, some from a spooky video game castle and some from Middle Earth. This is a musical curios shop, with a lot to take in, and no singular item would really capture the aesthetic of the whole place. This is a strange album, undoubtedly, but a good strange, for the most part.
Things to prepare for: the opening of the album. Oh yikes. A scratch–a mighty, mighty scratch–one that may prevent enjoyment of the rest of the song. It is so nasty, and hardly seems necessary, even with the defiant/self-analytical lyrics that follow. My god, why ever have that sound around. Blech. A more ubiquitous item to prepare for is the singing: not a particularly notable voice out of Berenyi, but the words are too hard to make out. Sure, hazy singing or mixing that doesn’t emphasize the vocals is fine, but when it becomes a challenge just to understand what the singer is saying? Thumbs down. Luckily, a lot of the lyrics here are vulnerable and hearty.
The songs all fall into the alternative category, though some pull from some faraway genres. Track one has punk-like rebelliousness, track four is a mellow metal song, “What’s Next?” is a trip to outer space, immediately following is spooky video game castle music and “Heartbeats” sounds like a cut from a Tolkien film. It’s an intelligent use of a supergroup since each member likely has their own interests that they would like to see carried out in song.
Lyrically, the album peaks in “Blameless,” yet another case of sadness bringing about the best music (though the single “Everlastingly Yours” is arguably the most enjoyable listen). “Life isn’t fair, but nobody cares,” “Stories I don’t want to tell,” “Burn all my bridges and tear up the cross” and “try to forget.” Oof, at least these thoughts aren’t bottled up. And before the final thoughts, a nod to “What’s Next?” for its penultimate power, the feeling of a nearby ending.
A year from now, this album will most likely be remembered for being artfully idiosyncratic, but a decent release nevertheless. Who knows where Piroshka will head next!