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Mary Lorson & Billy Cote Piano Creeps Review

Album. Released 2003.  

BBC Review

Piano Creeps is a gem of a record. Simple yet beautiful, these 12, mainly instrumental...

Dan Tallis 2003

Piano Creeps is a gem of a record. Simple yet beautiful, these 12, mainly instrumental songs glisten and shimmer with mysterious charm. They dazzle the listener with eerie piano rhythms and simple guitar and violin led compositions.

Mary Lorson& Billy Cote were the songwriting pair behind Madder Rose, the New York indie band that received critical acclaim for '93's Bring It Down and '94's Panic On. They even sold a few copies. A gradual dive into obscurity followed with the low key release of the bands final album Tragic Magic in '97. However, Lorson and Cote never really stopped working together with Cote contributing to Lorson's Saint Low project.

Piano Creeps is the first release under this guise and it stands out as their best work in years. The album opens with "E Guitar". A basic, unnervingly addictive drumbeat fills the background while a three chord guitar rhythm dominates the foreground. The song doesn't really develop but when the song closes after four minutes you're left not unsatisfied.

"Dig A Hole" features violins blended seamlessly with a deep bass beat. Muffled, distorted voices cry desperately throughout the song. The listener feels as if stuck in a recurring dream where the voices fail to give explanation or resolution.

"World's Fair" is a particularly enchanting song where the guitars are more prominent. The music sways like a candle flame flickering in the breeze; it can fade, almost dying altogether, then it suddenly soars high and true.

It's not until track 7, "See The Stars", that we hear the first vocal performance. Even then they consist of a repeated chorus that merely serves to accompany the instruments. Lorson explains the lack of vocals succinctly: "Billy and I really enjoy the freedom of the instrumental format, since there is no requirement to 'get to the chorus' or stick to the songwriting roadmap".

As the album title suggests the record is held together by simple recurring piano rhythms and beats. Often eerie and ghostly, but always captivating, these songs simply demand your attention. I was forced to stop whatever it was I was doing and listen; a very rewarding and pleasant experience.

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