I hope Monte Pittman won’t mind if I confess that when I heard his new album, Pain Love & Destiny, the music that it evoked most strongly for me was the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper. I’m not being hyperbolic, and I’m not referring simply to stylistic similarities, for example in the vocal harmonies in ‘Price of Fear’.
Like “Pepper”, this album is a crazy quilt of life’s emotions and scenes. Just as the boys from Liverpool drew freely from a multitude of musical influences, Pittman reaches into a bag brimming with styles spanning his walk through life – from folk and blues to metal, pop-rock and even country – and stitches them into a unified story through his electrifying guitar playing, personal vision and winsome voice.
The happy result is this emotionally engaging rock opera of an album. All of the songs bear repeated listening. Some personal standouts: ‘Lost’ has a Miike Snow vibe with its stripped vocal and guitar opening that hovers in a harmonically ambiguous space before exploding into a lush rock chorus. In ‘Somewhere in the Middle” synths, acoustic and electric guitar blend in a sexy swagger. Pittman takes a country rock detour — maybe a journey back to his Texas roots– with the rollicking “Fortune” and pensive “Price of Fear.”
Fans of Pittman’s metal rock virtuosity will get plenty of satisfaction from this album. ‘(I Am) the Black Rabbit’ serves up an extended psychedelic trip full of brooding bass, racing arpeggios and eerie vocals. Pittman explains the song was inspired by the novel “Watership Down.” ‘Burn Down the Garden’ is an eight-minute tour de force of incendiary shredding.
The hurricane intensity of ‘Burn Down the Garden’ is followed by the proverbial calm after the storm of ‘Predetermined Destiny’, whose chorus of unvarnished voices brings Pain Love & Destiny to a sweet and moving resolution. – J.K.
Monte Pittman has been nominated Best Rock Artist and Best Blues Artist by the All Indie Music Awards. Pain Love & Destiny is available on CD Baby where it rose to #1 Rock CD.
Which songs are your favorites?