Pirate Radio’s latest effort, Fires in the Woods, finds the San Francisco staple in a story telling mood. Tales of unrelenting hangovers, mundane commutes, war torn hands, disappearing small towns, and the like all find their right place on the band’s third LP.
And the luscious instrumentation serves these songs well, with drums pounding when they should, voices harmonizing to lift a chorus, and guitars simply strumming when it’s time to let the vocals and lyrics do the heavy lifting.
Pirate Radio is quick to credit the masterful co-production of J.J. Wiesler, who pushed the band to deconstruct songs creating room for percussion, organ and harpsichord.
Standout track “Ride Wild Hearts” is deserving of some serious radio play or, at the very least, a slot on your “Windows Down, Volume Up” playlist for that Friday night commute when the weather’s just right.
In stark contrast to this toe tapper, Ian Shaul, Pirate Radio’s latest addition, adds two intense, guitar driven sagas to the mix. Shaul contributions, while divergent, fit nicely with the band’s repertoire. (Not to mention, he brings some mean lap steel skills to the mix.)
Pirate Radio walked away from Fires in the Woods with a few new stories for their arsenal thanks to a late night recording session at an Oakland elementary school where the four of them jammed on vibraphones and xylophones with finger paintings and chalkboards serving as a perfectly strange backdrop.
The twist and turns are often the best part of the ride, and it’s clear that Pirate Radio brings that mentality to its material. Making sense of it all is anyone’s guess, but Fire in the Woods offers a nice perspective of the journey.