Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Pujol || United States of Being || Album Review 2012

I stumbled upon this artist completely by accident.  I had been meaning to buy something from Jack White's Third Man Records for quite some time now.  Finally I had a little extra cash come my way and I picked up the new Jack White, a single of his from the movie "It Might Get Loud" and I wanted to pick up a live record from the Live at Third Man series.  I randomly picked Pujol.  What an awesome experience hearing this 6 song live EP that they put out.  I immediately started to research this young artist who was kicking some live ass and taking names.  I noted that he had just released a new full length album.  I went to my local record store to pick up a copy.  I could not find it.  I went to the other local record store and thank the lord all mighty they had one copy of United States of Being.

Upon first listen my impression was that the live tracks had more intensity.  Way more intensity.  But I began to look deeper into the tunes.  Pujol is a poet.  There is no other word to describe what ink flows out of his pen.  The compilation of these songs are ones that come from the heart.  The word play is witty and the furthest thing from boring.  Songs today tend to be trite and redundant and just plain boring.  This description runs the gamut from emo love songs to hardcore punk rock to danceceterra rap music.  The same old thing that is pumped through our systems; hashed and rehashed up like an old sack of potatoes.  The closest thing that one may get to something that is real would be some of the modern folk artists (like Conor Oberst, et al..) or a an underground veteran for the last 25 yrs, like Jeff Tweedy.  Still, I like to rock.  Bright Eyes or Mumford and Sons don't rock.  Wilco may rock 20% of the time.  This new album by Pujol  plain and simply rocks.  It has a certain energy within it that makes me want to go out and see this band live.  I love that.  Now let's get down to dissecting a little bit of this album.  It is not all perfect but a worthy acquisition.

DIY2K- starts off the album.  It is an anthem.  It will get your toes tapping and your hands clapping.  It makes you want to sing a long.  But read along to the album with the lyrics because this songs lets you know what you are about to be in store for.  Mission From God- This song is where Pujol really rips apart his ribcage and shows you the soul buried deep inside.  It is just a brilliant number that has a toe tapping energy that makes me want to smile.  And isn't that what music and art is all about? Expression. Providence- I did not particularly care for this song on the first listen (which happened to be a live solo acoustic version I found on youtube).  But after several listens to the produced version on the album I see it comes to sit in the third position out of the gate.  It is really radio friendly.  A lot of this album (and especially his live recorded performances) has a raw garage rock, punk attitude feel about them. This can get airplay on mainline stations and probably could appeal to a more mainstream audience.  It is growing on me.  Keeper of Atlantis- Ah, an ode to Dad.  That is how this song comes screaming out of the gates at me.  A beautifully written nod to the lessons and stories handed down to one generation to the next.  And either you can relate to it or hate it.  Either way it is true emotion.  Made of Money- Irony.  Not my favorite track on the album, but catchy enough.  Endless Mike- Oh shit!  Now we are getting deep into the good stuff.  This song kicks ass.  The funny thing is that it totally threw me for a loop on the first listen.  See, it is the first cut on the live EP I purchased from Thirdman.  In other words, the live version was my full and uninvited introduction  into Pujol.  It blew my mind.  I'd buy that record all over again for that track alone. -This one is slowed down, more melodically driven and well produced that only adds to the emotion of the song.  As Endless Mike led off the heart of the line next up comes probably my favorite song on the album, Reverse Vampire.  Such a great chanting tune with remarkable musicianship put on by all musicians.  But the what makes this catchy little tune particulary good is the poetry that has been turned into lyrics.  It starts off:
 When I look around
And what I see is not the best
But it's good enough for me
right here right now
I guess
It's sort of boring
I got a million ways
To occupy my mind
And waste my time
Then the toms come in strong and the second verse starts and it is just plain brilliant.  The production of the song has a great building effect.  So good!  The bridge is just the right length and the simplisty make it very approachable by most music fans.  I cannot say enough positive things about this tune on United States of Being....until you hear the acoustic version of just Daniel and his beat up six string playing this to a handful of fans in an office environment (see below).  One thing comes to mind; I think Bob Dylan would approve.  Niceness-This song did not strike a chord with my right away.  Probably due to the fact that it is sandwiched in between two of my favorites on the album.  I gave it several listens in a row to really get a good sense of what it is all about.  First off, it is an ode to Untitledpositivity.  A chant. An anthemn to keeping a smile on your face.  I like the birds a tweetin' at the beginning however, the stuttered drum entrance into music is not pleasing to the song.  Don't know why.  Maybe it just doesn't agree with me.  This song is probably insanely awesome live due to the powerful nature of the chant associated with strong drums and power chords.  Black Rabbit-This would be considered the "single" on the album.  It was the first studio produced number that I heard due to my youtube search and this official music video came up (great video! Is it directed by the Stewart Copeland?  See below).  This song like so many others on this album just has a wonderful rhythmic pulse to it.  The beginning stabs and opening howl get you going in the right direction, then pure garage pop genius follows.  I can easily listen to this song over and over and over again.  It should be a pre-requisite for all struggling artist on how to right a good song.  Each And Every Day-  Tonally this song begins and Dinosaur Jr. come to mind.  A little "Feel the Pain" but the pain only lasts moments  as the vocals kick in and a newborn man with a highness for life begins to go on a mantra about life.  It is a good tune however I see why it is buried in the back of the album.  Pujol is still a young artist and coming out of the gates with such strong numbers beforehand it is really tough to top it.  This is a filler.  A filler that gets bonus points for the solid clap tracks strategically placed in the tune.  Dark Knight in Shining Armor- Did the kid like DC Comics way back when.  Again another album filler.  Not too bad but it was smart of them to make this and the song before it short.  Psychic Pain-  Not much to say about the last song on the album.  More of a ballad.  I always like big strong endings on Albums, but for marketing purposes this is probably a smart choice.  One of the best parts of this song is the nice Tenessian draw you can hear while Pujol pronounce "pain".  It's cute, but I always like to end on a high note.  Speaking about that, not too sure of the minute dribble at the end.  An album that comes out of the gates soooo strong deserves more.

Either way, Please come west.  I am 100% positive that the live Pujol show will be worth the price of admission and merit this artist a long and successful career.

Black Rabbit Official Music Video directed by Steward Copeland

Reverse Vampire Acoustic Version----> Who is Ben Todd?????

The United States of being is Daniel Pujol's decree to the listening world.  At this time in his life and maybe for all of enternity, it is what he believes much he had the instructions tattooed onto his rib cage and proudly posted it as the album cover for all the world to see.