The Ford Pier Vengeance Trio's Huzzah! is dense, artful, and complex

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      The Ford Pier Vengeance Trio
      Huzzah! (Independent)

      Ford Pier is a gnomic dude. You see him at his day job at Red Cat Records and he comments on your purchase and you laugh, but go away thinking, “Actually, what the hell did he mean?” and never quite figure it out. Sometimes on-stage he’ll do something introspective and oddly structured and the most interesting thing about it is that he’s so interested in it, regardless of whether anyone is catching what he’s pitching. And then other times (like at the recent D.O.A. farewells in Vancouver) he bounds out like Pete Townshend on a trampoline and seems the most extroverted, expressive, playful of people, rocking out without obvious irony or restraint.

      Complex guy, apparently, and Huzzah!, the new LP by the Ford Pier Vengeance Trio, is a complex album: dense, artful, guitar-centric power-prog, packed with tension and restrained eccentricity that occasionally erupts into tuneful, joyous rave-ups that remind you that it’s still rock. Drummer Bradford Lambert and bassist Eric Napier are jazzy virtuosos who share Pier’s disdain for cliché. Still, the album’s best song (“Lions and Tigers and Bears”) is also its musically simplest and lyrically easiest to understand, and proves Pier can go for the jugular when he wants: it’s a shimmering, pissed-off, 7.5-minute meditation on aging, and/or on the use of powdered parts of endangered animals by middle-aged losers to buttress their sagging stamina, sung from the point of view of just such a loser. Sadly, I can identify.