Behold! The tales of acoustic woe, that fall from the hands of sweet guitar and somber cello. PIPSQUEAK is a love story, a tale that has grown for many years. Born from the cracks of the Silicon Valley, grown to the peaks of the Pacific Northwest, this band has revised itself a few times over before nestling into it’s current status. Started in ’97 as a guitar and drum two piece in California when guitarist Jerome was also in APEFACE, he went solo when he moved to Seattle in ’99- banging away on a beat up guitar, wailing his tunes, and crafting a unique sound that has come to be recognizable and admired by folks here and afar. In the early 2000’s, Jerome and some friends started Seattle-based pop punk band SNUGGLE, and a few of the PIPSQEAK songs became part of SNUGGLE’s repertoire. As the music continued to transform over the years, Jerome had some friends nice enough to give him a new guitar, which he named Elizabeth. He has held onto her ever since…
Like I said, this is a love story. A tale that has grown for many years. Many songs have been strummed, many sad, sordid stories have been sung. ‘Twas this way, for years, with Jerome and Elizabeth. Elizabeth and Jerome. A solo endeavor. Just a man, his thoughts poured into music, and his guitar.
That was, of course, until they met Lisa.
Lisa came into the PIPSQUEAK picture in 2007, having already etched out quite the rockin’ resume as cello player for such bands as GARMONBOZIA, OROKU, and presently KOHOSH. This pairing must have been in the stars. Jerome’s punchy, emotional, driving guitar riffs and personal lyrics met their match with Lisa’s perfect-pitch cello playing, adding new depth and dimension to the former solo project.
The music of Pipsqueak can best described as folky and catchy on the one hand, while also being totally melancholy. The upbeat tempo and consistent strumming on guitar with somber sweeping cello melodies and harmonies allow for this dichotomy. The cello is heartbreakingly pretty played alongside these intense guitar riffs. There are long musical parts to these songs, where the two instruments do their own singing and it is really powerful. And while the fast strumming definitely has it’s roots in punk rock, this acoustic duo is so much more than just one genre. Harkening to punk rock’s angry roots, PIPSQUEAK is also more; folk, classical cello elements, country twang, and even hints of Spanish style guitar present.
Lyrically, these songs are personal, sad, and intimate. I almost feel as if I’m doing something wrong by listening, like these stories have been ripped from journal entries- shared stolen secrets turned into songs. Sung by both Jerome and Lisa, these male and female harmonizing vocals add more layers to songs that previously had only one vocalist, and new possibilities and growth in the newly written songs. At times the vocals trade off between just Jerome, alternating, and harmonizing duals with Lisa as well. Just as their instruments merge into one conglomerate sound- their vocals merge to create awesome sounds as well. Gruff vocals meld with pretty singing. While sad, they have elements of hope. I hope.
Artwork for the LP was done by local Pacific Northwest artists. LP comes with a full size insert/lyric sheet. The first official release of PIPSQUEAK’s current reportiore, Fowl Hymns contains 5 new songs and 5 old ones that have been rewritten to add cello parts.
Do yourself a favor and get this album, ASAP. The songs will stuck in your head and have you singing along in no time. (Maygun)
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