Album Review: Pirate Left Of Mind

16 February 2012 | 6:53 pm | Cam Findlay

Left Of Mind attests to their intense, dilettantish sound.

Ahhh, prog. Remember those days? I know I do. This scribe went through a long and intermittent love affair with Porcupine Tree, Bubblemath, Liquid Tension Experiment et al. in the younger days. There was nothing like those bouncy, slapped bass rhythms, heavy use of cymbals, talkbox vocals and freeform guitar jaunts. Well, if you thought prog was dead, Pirate have news for you.

Supporting the likes of Closure In Moscow, Floating Me and sleepmakeswaves, Pirate have built a pretty stable following on the eastcoast, and their debut album Left Of Mind attests to their intense, dilettantish sound. Starting out with absolutely no warning, the title track blasts in with a wall of 5/4 stadium rawk, channeling the spirit of Petrucci and Portnoy. Follow-up Animals Cannibals keeps the good thing going with a more spaced-out keyboard treatment, before Rough Shuffles throws down the metal gauntlet, building a long, flowing beatdown driven by… saxophone, yes, saxophone. Frontman Joel Woolf's sax arguably takes centre stage throughout the album, as he throws the instrument around with the dynamics of any great prog guitar player; think if Omar Rodriguez-Lopez played sax and had the lungs of an Olympic distance runner. In The Balance sounds a lot like Pirate's touring contemporaries (despite the inclusion of the obligatory vocoder). Finish is obviously the side-break of the album - a charming, mellow melody of sax and guitar, it floats by effortlessly, but beautifully breaks up the heavier parts of the album.

Sure, you're probably sitting there saying to yourself, “Pfft, prog? Who gives a shit about prog any more?” Well, Pirate obviously do. And more power to them; they pull it off with the majesty of their long-haired predecessors.