Pick up on this

The Pieces (Benchmark Records)
The Pieces

By David Lilly

When I listen to this debut disc by the trio called The Pieces, I feel I've entered some kind of Tom Petty Lounge. That's not all I hear, but when your music has a recent-Petty-like atmosphere and you're clearly not ripping him off, I consider that a good start.

That feeling is strongest with the opener, "That's Why It Is," beginning with a rapidly ticking percussive clock, then the tocking of a scratchy guitar and finally the sound of full-fledged guitar power chords. The rest of the song is a casually paced and Petty-esque knee-bouncing rocker of a party or driving (or driving to a party) song. "The Wait" is played at a gallop and wins the award for the song with lyric content most conspicuously in contrast with the times we live in, "All of my life I've been waiting for something/ something that's worth the wait," and the same statement in slightly different words, "All of my life I've been waiting for someone/ Someone who's worth the wait." It's a gust of fresh air to hear something about patience and personal responsibility.

Because of the unusual way my mind works, "Gentlemen and Big Mistakes" is not stolen from, but does remind me of a cross between the weird 1963 hit song, "Walk Right In," and The Zombies' 1964 hit, "She's Not There." Rather than attempt to explain that connection, I'll just inform you that those two oldies are available for online listening. Get The Pieces and go listen and make your own connections or e-mail me about how wrong I am.

Before I let you finish reading this review, though, according to my ears, the melody of "Good Question" could - and I emphasize the word could - be The Pieces' answer to The Beatles' "Don't Let Me Down." More kudos to the lyricist for the lines, "Did you ever fall for someone who couldn't be/ All the things you need/ to get through the week" For me that evokes the Dylan lines, "People don't do what they believe in/ They do what's most convenient; then they repent." That's not a judgment call; that's a comment on the human condition. I'm always honest with you, so feel free to trust me when I say the second half of this disc is also top quality material.

From my humble vantage point in the community we call Kentuckiana, there is nothing here that's at all puzzling. The Pieces have put together a collection of really enjoyable songs; do you prefer a CD that provokes thought and might somehow make a difference in your life or do you want an album that's just fun? This disc might be both. Since you might want to hear some Pieces' music and find out the whole story, hop on thy mouse and click over to

www.thepieces.net

; since this CD's content is clever and accessible for thinking dancers, treat yourself to an enjoyable time at the same time. This one disc is worth the price of a double album.

Review coda: Not that it really matters, but the bass player is a cutie.