Peerless Pirates - Thieves & Miscreants EP
Peerless Pirates – Thieves & Miscreants

Pretty much every emerging artist is told at some point that they need to find their niche or, shudder, Unique Selling Point. There is no doubt that Peerless Pirates have found their niche by dressing like pirates and singing almost exclusively about piratical themes – slightly odd for four blokes from land-locked middle England – but is it good to find a niche so specific that it potentially limits your artistic output? Because, let’s face it, there are only so many songs you can write about pirates unless you want to go all Somalian and, personally, I think it’s still too soon for that. Anyway, I digress, let’s talk about the music. Opener ‘The Ghost of Captain Kidd’ has the feel of some of the jauntier Smiths tunes but without Morrisey’s miserable dribbling and also features the line “you were captain of my heart” which reminded me of the 80s classic by Double. ‘Throw Down The Gauntlet’ starts off with a sea shanty style rhythm that begs for a few ‘yo-ho-hos’ but when Cliff Adams’ baritone voice booms the opening line you can’t help but feel that this is the music Neil Hannon would have made if he had watched Jonny Depp dress up as Keith Richards once too often.

With possibly the most contrived title, ‘Palaver at the Harbour’ is a great little indie tune that has a jangly, Mersey Beat-esque feel to it as well as plenty of tremolo guitar for effects enthusiasts. Meanwhile, final track ‘Bring Out Your Dead’ is a skiffly, perky number that the Coral would be proud of and the Zutons would kill for – if only to banish the ghost of ‘Valerie’. There’s no questioning the songwriting and technical abilities of Peerless Pirates and I have no doubt that their live performance is equally excellent but if I were an A&R scout (do they still exist?) I would have serious hesitations about the longevity of a band with such a niche market. I mean, if they’d managed to get a track on to any one of the Pirates of the Caribbean films or that mediocre offering from Aardman then there might be a chance of a couple of hits. Other than that I think the best bet would be to re-theme the band for each new release so that after the Peerless Pirates have run their course, they could try rebranding as the Kick-ass Knights, the Awesome Astronauts or Camp Cowboys (that last one’s just an excuse to wear assless chaps really).

31st August 2012 @ The Bullingdon Arms, Oxford
16th November 2012 @ The Wheatshead, Leighton Buzzard