Piano Wire Smile

Less - Piano Wire Smile ©2001 Self-Released
1. It's Over
2. Garrotte
3. Mortar
4. Don't Fear Me
5. Right Cross
6. Overpass
7. Lie Still
8. Glad To No You
9. Another Rapist
10. Imp
11. Pressure Mining
12. Tar
13. Allah's Collar

First things first. The packaging for this CD is too clever for its own good. I'm sure the guys in Less wanted to strive for a very mysterious, impressionist look, but unfortunately their logo is so indistinct that I didn't even know the name of this band until I put the CD into my CD rom drive to get the information off cddb.com. If someone came across this CD in a used store, there's a good chance he or she will pass it over due to lack of any recognizable features in the artwork.

Enough of my moaning and bellyaching. Less is a trio that has come about due to the crop of bands that either fell into the grunge wave or the nu-metal wave. However, before metal purists immediately discount Less as Slipknot wannabes with obscure artwork, it should be heavily stated that Less's sound is derived from the better bands who got lumped into those categories. Most prominent is the Tool influence. Whether you like them or not, Tool is a credible and creative act and it's no badge of dishonor to have them as an influence. I'd be more worried if a band said Avril Lavigne was an influence. In fact, I'd probably would recommend locking anyone who said that into an indie record store and force them to expand their CD collection beyond the twelve free CDs they got from that record club deal. But I digress. Back to Less. Less's vocalist also has that despondent, morose Alice in Chains approach to his singing without the "whoa-whoaaaaa" inflections Layne Staley specialized in. For Less's purposes, the singing works. The songs are fairly well written and constructed, but definitely not immediately catchy. The one drawback, however, is the seventy minute length of this CD. After so long, the songs tend to blend together and lose my attention. Piano Wire Smile might have accomplished more with, er, um, less. A forty minute release may have had a bigger impact.

Less might be a little excessive with the quantity of music and a little miserly with the artwork, but they've at least established themselves as a potentially impressive act. While I'm not blown away by Piano Wire Smile, it is certainly a good effort that deserves a little attention by those who absolutely love the Tool effect on hard rock acts.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 02/2004

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