"Back at the Rising stage we see what are probably the find of the weekend." Having won the right to play that stage in a Planet Rock competition, that was our opening gambit when we reviewed Cannock-based Piston's set on the final day of Maidstone's Ramblin' Man Fair in July this year. As well as also having the pleasure of interviewing the five piece Rock n’ Roll engine afterwards, made up of four members from the Midlands greased with a vocal roar from the South, we were understandably salivating at the thought of their long-awaited eponymous debut CD that was due to be released nearly two months later, on a very lucky Friday 13th September!
Indeed, Ramblin' Man was the first time we had caught the guys live, although it wasn't for the want of trying. A drip feed of excellent singles in advance of the album, made up for our previous attempt to see them in March, supporting their new single 'One More Day' at the, now much missed, Big Red in London. Although by the time we'd arrived at the venue, there had been a power cut, and the gig had to be cancelled! On the proviso that there are enough coins in the electricity meter tonight, Piston complete their co-headline tour with Collateral – the Stand Up, Shout It Out! Tour - at Archway's The Lounge (formerly Club Kolis) in London. The band are then back on the road next month with Hannah Wicklund & The Steppin Stones and Gorilla Riot for UK “Roadstars” - a live extravaganza that sees each band alternate as headliners, giving them an equal share of the limelight. And then, finally. they join Glenn Hughes Performs Classic Deep Purple Live tour in November on the Aberdeen, Inverness and Middlesbrough legs.
Therefore it's fair to say that vocalist Rob Angelico, guitarist Jack Edwards, fellow six stringer Luke Allatt, bass guitarist Stuart Egan and drummer Brad Newlands on drums, are all currently in demand! However, before the aforementioned recent singles, it has been almost six years since their last release, plus they previously recorded a whole album, scrapped it and then bravely re-sculpted their sound! Their pedigree is well document though, having already appeared with various well-respected acts in the industry such as The Temperance Movement and Sebastian Bach and have filled venues throughout the UK with their raw sound and energetic performances.
The 10-track debut album was recorded at Silk Mill Studios in Newcastle Under Lyme, produced by Dan Swift (Iggy Pop, Depeche Mode) and is self-released with distribution by Music Glue. The album explodes into life with the brief but catchy 'Dynamite', all about following your instincts, with Gretch endorsed Jack, already nailing his Cult influences to the mast on his Billy Duffy Signature. C'mon! Newlands drum intro on their second single from the album 'Rainmaker', heralds a cracking vocal from Angelico plus equally awesome guitar work from both the Fender wielding Allatt and Edwards' White Falcon, on this slice of Foo Fighters high octane style Rock 'n' Roll, that deservedly got a lot of Planet Rock airplay on its May release. Based on striving to feel free, it's also one of two bonus tracks on the album remixed by Grammy Award nominated Romesh Dodangoda (Motörhead, Bring Me The Horizon). 'Go Now' is all about life's journey and making decisions, but despite its serious side, it's another catchy, Funky track that emphasises the solid spine of the band, namely Egan and Newlands, whilst another thought provoking track, the slower 'Carry Us Home', all about relationships, is a brilliant emotional riff and vocal rollercoaster. Their first single 'One More Day' (also the other bonus track to be remixed by Romesh Dodangoda) - is another Rock 'n' Roll gem that demonstrates the tightness of the band. Understandably, it consequently received airplay on BBC Radio 2’s Rock Show with Johnnie Walker, Planet Rock and many more - it's subject matter being about learning to trust in the natural progression of life.
'Beyond Repair' poses the question "Is it too late to make things right?' - well to be truthful, there ain't nothing wrong with this storming riff ridden track all the way through from Newlands intro to Angelico's vocal. All about anger relationship management, the awesome Southern Rock vibe of 'Leave If You Dare' hits the spot, transporting us back to that beautiful Summer's Day set in Mote Park - the dark, broody, long haired good looking Angelico making us mere mortals self deprecate to excess, especially when he flaunts his considerable singing talents! Another searing, infectious but short anthem - 'Blow It Away', considers life's purpose, but this third single, (also remixed by Dodangoda), is intense, fresh and engaging and is complemented by a killer superhero themed animated music video. Check it out. One of the stand out's of the album, the Classic 70's Rock vibe of 'Let Us Rise' addresses the balance between selflessness and selfishness, whilst in contrast, the Psychedelic feel of 'Into The Night' ends the album on an unexpected but positive note - exploring the darkness to find our way back to the light. Based on this debut album, and treading that fine line between chaos and radio friendly rebellious Rock, Piston have most certainly seen the light. With fun and fire in equal measures, this is a fist pumping, chest beating 32:52 minutes of Rock joy, which, when put together and fired up produce a no-nonsense sound to be reckoned with! Is 2019 the year for Piston? Suffice to say - as per our Ramblin' Man Fair review concluded - "What a great band. Keep an eye on this lot."