Lots of Guitars, Bass, and Drums

And 10 pretty great songs. Nick Piunti’s latest has it all.

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Nick Piunti | Trust Your Instincts (2016)
A review by Alan Haber alan 5 small

(Win one of two copies of Nick Piunti’s Trust Your Instincts by entering our latest contest. Click here.)

nick piunti - trust your instincts smallThe black-and-white collage that sits underneath the plastic CD tray depicts a bespectacled Nick Piunti, eyes shut tight, t-shirt and sports jacket-clad, singing into a microphone maybe an inch from his lips, his Fano guitar slung over his shoulder at PJ’s Lager House in Detroit, pick plucking the strings, the fingers on his left hand perfectly placed on the fretboard. Nick’s cohorts–guitarist Ryan Allen and drummer Donny Brown, also bespectacled, and not-bespectacled bassist Andy Reed–are tending to their positions, strumming, plucking and pounding. You get the sense that the room they are playing in is shaking, or humming with at least the fury of the mighty Thor.

Just moments into the title song of Nick Piunti’s third solo album, you know your sense is spot on. The electric guitars rage and Donny Brown’s drums power up with Keith Moon-like intensity, and Nick’s vocals, committed and assured, take hold of the proceedings. If you close your eyes, you can imagine this song blowing through a packed house, raising the collective blood pressure of the people populating the dance floor.

This is how Trust Your Instincts rolls: Lots of guitars, bass, and drums played by the core band, with only a touch of guest accompaniment–pedal steel from David Feeny and a harmony vocal from Rachael Davis on “Dumb It Down”–added to the mix. This is the engine that powers these songs that fuel the intensity of Nick’s vision. This is the mix that makes these songs sing.

nick piunti photo smallThese songs take hold with emotion-filled spirit. The mid-tempo, melody-rich “Stay Where You Are” tells the tale of a stale relationship, one-half of which doesn’t quite get it: “Don’t you want to stay out of this dead end conversation/I think I’m gonna bail out/Running on fumes in the inspiration department…Stop me if you’ve heard this one before,” Nick sings. The title song, about trusting in yourself (“Time heals the deepest wounds/just as soon as you move on”), takes root, matching its lyrical prowess with every powerful beat.

“One Hit Wonder,” the album’s big, splashy, hit bound pure pop song, is perhaps the clear winner in an album full of them; the lyrics, always a high point of a Nick Piunti collection, are especially clever and vibrant (“Burned out before it began/If it was destined to be then we stuck to the plan”), and the melody is designed to never wear out its welcome.

The road to Trust Your Instincts, releasing on September 9 on Jem Records, has been a long and fruitful one for Nick Piunti, encompassing membership in a few bands, most notably the Respectables, and solo work that made heads turn and hearts embrace its many charms. Decades since first strapping on a guitar at age 12, the Michigan musician is trusting his instincts and has consequently turned in one of the best albums of the year. Guitars, bass, and drums indeed.

(Win one of two copies of Nick Piunti’s Trust Your Instincts by entering our latest contest. Click here.)

black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Trust Your Instincts,” “One Hit Wonder,” “Dumb it Down,” “Ready for Whatever,” “As Far as I Know,” and “Stay Where You Are.”
black box When and Where to Get It: September 9 at Kool Kat Musik, Amazon, iTunes, and Bandcamp.

alan-mic-zeeAlan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio is the original 24-hour Internet radio station playing the greatest melodic pop music from the ’60s to today. From the Beatles to the Monkees, the Posies, McPherson Grant, the Connection and the New Trocaderos, we play the hits and a whole lot more. Tune in by clicking on one of the listen links below.

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