Released on 18 February 2008 on Stolen
"Be warned, this album is more addictive than crack!" as a warning sticker on this album may be slightly over the top, but not far from the mark. According to last.fm this is by far and away my most listened-to album of the year so far and there seems no end in sight for my insatiable hunger for young Pete and his nautical highwaymen.
Lead-up singles 'Come On Feet', 'Knots' and 'Mr Understanding' all stand out with their similar pace, melody and immediacy but are eclipsed by the tenderer moments which the band handle so well. 'Humming' is pure, gorgeous falsetto fragility and 'Dry Wing', while guitar-heavy is the finest song you'll hear all year. When the Pirate's harmonies merge effortlessly with the guitar melody it's quite simply life-affirming.
A later ballad 'Bears' is, you'll swear, a tribute to the combined ire of Mommy Bear and Dani Behr until common sense tells you Mommies tend to live with Daddies. It's one of this album's charming idiosyncracies that such a sense check is required, Pete and the Pirates cohabit the sonic universe of Young Knives so well that you expect the same outlandishness.
As we near the end of the disc, 'Song For Today' is a powerful, mature ballad that threatens to become swamped in pomp but rescues itself nicely in time for the storming riffage of album closer 'Bright Lights', a future single possibly misplaced at the tail end in front of in the front line.
What keeps this album from gaining full marks is that I'd hate for this to be considered unbeatable. Pete and the Pirates must return next year with a second album of even greater quality, no matter how difficult a task that currently seems. In the meantime, 'Little Death' shows the big birth of an act who should find a whole new batallion of fans over the festival season that will see this album prove the biggest sleeper hit of the year.
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