After having such a hard weekend, followed by most of a hard week, it was great to find that ska group yesterday that just chilled me out and let me let off some steam. The week's gotten even better with my discovery today, Ten Thousand Pieces (sometimes stylized as 10,000 Pieces).
Out of Haworth, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom, TTP are an indie-rock four-piece comprising members Ben Guest (vocals and guitar), Chris Jackson (guitars and keyboards), Jason Cherryholme (bass), and John Holmes (drums and percussion). The four-piece just recently released a four-track demo, and after listening to the whole set-list, I knew these guys were meant for big things.
But let's go back to the beginning of the demo which starts with "Sailing Alone," an indie-rock piece with an alternative edge. The song begins with Jackson's guitar notes ringing clearly against the backdrop of Cherryholme's smooth bass lines and Holmes' easy-going drum beats. Above the chilled out music are Guest's vocals (and with it his guitar playing). It's almost hypnotic listening to it. There's no one thing that makes these guys any different from anyone else. It's the whole band together that give a song that could be easily misconstrued as a U2 or Muse track something that stands out against all other artists in the indie/alternative light. It's melodic, it's ambient, and it just works all around. A solid, solid song to begin a demo with.
Song two is "Chasing Dreams," an almost acoustic track that begins amid rain on a rooftop. But the acoustic sound is soon evolved with Jackson's entrance on solid-body electric guitar. Holmes soon comes in, too, on his snare as Cherryholme's bass mimics his tom and snare beats. Guest's vocals here, again, are melodic enough to appeal to those listeners looking for something familiar, but also unique enough to appeal to the listener who wants something new and different. Guest's guitar, also, augments Jackson's well, and the two-guitar sound is neither drawn out here, nor set to mimic something already produced by another group.
As the rain fades us out again, "Turn the Lights Out" begins. More abrasive from the start than the previous two tracks, Jackson's guitar on this one adopts a more alternative, less indie note progression, as Guest's guitar sets down a solid rhythm track. Holmes is more liberal with his use of the cymbals here, and Cherryholme's bass has double-timed in its beats, moving the song along at a faster pace. With drums rolls and fills by Holmes providing a shaking of the rust at the beginning of every chorus, Guest's voice meshes brilliantly with the music, and this track has quickly become one of the best I've heard in a while. One thing I also love about this song is its change in beat and rhythm on the chorus, where it adopts a bouncier meter. The juxtaposition of this against a more lax verse makes "Turn the Lights Out" a solid track for the demo.
The last track on the demo, "My Life," is a rock-solid wrap-up. Starting on Holmes' drum rolls and Cherryholme's again double-timed bass lines, Jackson's guitar is melodic yet strong, with great rhythm guitar accompaniment by Guest. Also, the vocals here are brilliantly clear and pasted over the fantastic solo Jackson lays down towards the end, making this song a definite must-hear. Two thumbs up.
Sounds Like: Oasis, The Stone Roses, The Posies, The Smiths
Key Tracks from demo CD: "My Life," "Chasing Dreams," "Sailing Alone," "Turn the Lights Out"