From piano breaks reminiscent of Yann Tiersen to Chicago-style horn riffs to the self-described “Cracker-Salsa,” this album has a quick pace that keeps the listener guessing and a definitive arc that makes for a great cover-to-cover listen.
The album, which features co-producer Jack Shirley (Comadre, Magic Bullets, Finest Dearest), showcases Joseph’s vocal style, reminiscent of Lennon or Elliot Smith’s doubled vocal tracks. Beneath these tracks lays a finely tuned, ever changing troop of horns, strings, organs, and a custom-treated tack piano. Although the transitions (much of the album is gapless) are often stark, they are harmonically fluid and compelling.
Joseph includes a cover of the Rolling Stones early Britain-only single “Memo From Turner” in three parts, using a unique succession of analog tape recorders and preamps, along with an angelic female chorus to create an audibly arresting suite. The centerpiece, however, is probably “Less Impressive Death.” On this cut, Joseph goes from his most accessible and pop-oriented side to perhaps his most progressive, establishing an infectious hook, and a jazz-pop piano sound, (he has described it as “giving the listener a false sense of security”) – only to follow with the audible equivalent of a Kuleshov-era Intellectual Montage – a flurry of tightly composed atonal tack pianos, convoluted sampling, a Flamenco-rock 6/8 pianistic duel, and a torturously time-edited recapitulation of the pop hook.
Joseph is the bassist for the San Francisco indie rock sextet Art & Ransom and plays bass, piano and guitar with a number of other bands and projects. Shoot the Piano Player includes John Moxley on Drums, Clara Brill and Jackie Armada on Strings, Lizz Faye and Jonathan Eiseman on Horns, the vocals of Adrianna Echandi, the beat production of Matty McBride, and the spoken word artistry of Jel.Ani, with an appearance by Marc Joseph on Timpani and Peter Moxley on Guitar. The secret track features Coby Joseph. But don’t tell anyone. Cause it’s secret.
(Email Ben Joseph at email@example.com)