171 Nails is a collection of David Gray-ish pop but artier and without the up-tempo material. Picker is like a modern Nick Drake, only armed with a piano instead of a guitar. The songs have a similar wistful minimalism.
Pickers impressively smooth vocals sound like a cross between Gray and “Meddle”-era David Gilmour, seamlessly gliding from a talking delivery into glistening falsetto. The lyrics are oblique enough to be verbal versions of the ink blot test although “You Know You Smile Too Much” seems like it could be a Bush-bashing with the line, “where is your army? You know this will cost you.” There is a strong satisfying poetic sensibility (though no doubt perceived as pretentious to some) throughout the proceedings.
This is definitely Sunday morning coffee-and-paper mellow listening. The opening track “Kabel” starts off with an up-tempo riff similar to the Smiths’ “Headmaster Ritual” but then it downshifts into a slower groove that’s maintained throughout the CD. Picker is definitely one to keep an eye on. (Dan Leary)