Joe Piket’s “Everything is Different”
Joe Piket’s Everything is Different is a banner solo effort from a singer, songwriter, and musical talent who has built a considerable reputation as a bandleader. His earlier releases under the name Joe Piket and the Storm gained his songwriting quite a following before the unit eventually disbanded. He didn’t allow it to drag him down, however, and instead saw possible disaster as an opportunity. The eight track studio album Everything is Different could be applied as a description of the album’s contents. It is a collection exploring a wide gamut of styles rather than confining itself to a single tangent. Piket sounds confident throughout.
His first track “Now I Have Everything” practices a bit of musical sleight of hand. It promises a song with a neo-classical bent with its elegant interplay between piano and violin before undergoing a total transformation. The doo wop stylings Piket and his collaborators slip into comes off without jarring listeners. Piket excels thanks to two factors above all else – the lockstep and deeply musical vocal harmonies alongside the lyrical content makes this a powerful opening.
He takes a different direction with the track “Coke Stevenson”. It’s far closer to the sort of guitar-driven jangle popular in rock clubs and it’s not difficult to imagine Piket working up a crowd with this track. The storytelling strengths behind its lyrics are considerable and never forced; there’s measured imagery fueling this track and it’s one of the jewels in the album’s crown. Several influences collide during the track “My Breath to You”. It is close to a bit of blue-eyed soul filtered through Piket’s consciousness spiked with a jazzy vibe many listeners will enjoy. His sensitive vocal performance has a lot of finesse without ever abandoning emotion
“Piles” and another later track challenge any wont for pigeonholing Joe Piket. He veers off in an unexpected direction with this near progressive rock track The heavy presence of keyboards throughout the track are integrated well with the other instruments and Piket hits another vocal height with this cut. Rollicking piano, hard-charging drums, and a robust horn section gives “Hard to Be Good” plenty of juice. This is a track with unquestionable commercial appeal and Piket embraces it with the same wholehearted passion heard during the earlier cuts. The structure is predictable and sturdy, but the chief joy is hearing how skillfully Piket and his collaborators get there.
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“Another Age” runs over nine minutes long and passes through several styles before reaching its conclusion. The skillful construction of this piece could easily sound artificial but, instead, Piket’s songwriting strikes listeners like conscious art, deliberate yet vital, never hitting a false note. His ambitions are big, but Piket has the talent to make it work. It closes the curtain on Everything is Different with great artfulness without losing any of the energy of its more immediate and physical tracks. It’s one of the most broad-based releases in recent memory and doesn’t exhaust itself with a single listen. He’s on a creative path that many listeners will be glad to follow.