Skeletons in the Piano Come Alive on Please Don’t Die

Skeletons in the Piano

Please Don’t Die

Magnetic Eye Records, 2013

It’s not like it’d be hard to imagine, but let’s say Tim Burton decided to set a film in a creaky 1930′s traveling carnival, and Johnny Depp (naturally) would be be the lead. Probably the big top barker with an opium addiction and a fondness for betting money he doesn’t have on baseball.

Well Skeletons in the Piano sound a lot like what the band backing the trapeze acts and lion tamer in this film would sound like. Hypnotic and hellish, smooth and overblown; antiquated and modern all at once, the songs lurch back forth from a demented cabaret to full bore rockers. Shifting in rhythm and feel, nothing ends where it starts, and everything is it’s own dramatic passion play.

“Loose Kites n the Harbor” at times feels like it could have come from the Dropkick Murphy’s, but not really. There’s just precious little else to compare Skeletons in the Piano to. There’s some nice call and response between the guitars and violin at the end.

“Disposable Televisions, Disposable Guns” starts off moody and picks up the pace into a more aggressive animal. “The Price Put on You,” and “The Blood Beyond,” are solid stand out tracks. They begin modestly rusticated before evolving into more electrified stomps.

“Oh, Rose”is a great example of crossing styllistic lines. The violins melodies sound as though from a mournful Irish reel, but the rhythm is solid slabs of metal.

“Memory Lane Needs a Garbage Man” is about as close as the band comes to a straight ahead rock song. And it’s a fun left turn. Elijah Hargrave sounds like Ian Gillian singing a Paul Revere and the Raiders number. Jeff Ayers organ and Eric Donavans snare fills carry the song.

At times , with the more involved songs, it feels as though Iron Maiden has taken on members from Riverdance and there’s a great deal of free form jamming taking place. All of it is grandiose in its scope and delivery. Skeltons in the Piano demands a great deal from those listening and even more from the musicians performing.

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