Well, sort of. Maybe they haven’t quite been here for years, but there’s definitely something to be said about San Diego based, experimental alt-rockers Privet, and it includes more than the obvious comparisons. From the moment you begin to listen to their 2011 self-titled release, you may hear a few similarities with heavy hitters such as Pinback and Radiohead. But get about 30 seconds into any song, and Privet proves that they’ve taken this really intriguing genre and made it their very own.
Just on the edge of mathy, jazzy, and at most times very exploratory, Privet is a group of guys who either know exactly what they’re doing or they have the rhythm and music theory gods in their corner. Actually, they more or less know exactly what they’re doing. It only took a few moments of chatting with bassist Elliott Winicki to know that he was classically trained as well as ready to rock. Drummer Matt Lynott has the musical expertise that can only come from being a slightly self-professed “band whore” (Which is seriously one of the best kind of whores to be. Seriously!) Add in the well calculated riffs of Sean Walsh on guitar, the gently endearing vocals of Will Hagan, and a various slew of other instruments that the guys have all mastered, and you’ve got what I like to call “melodic chaotic”. Melodic because tunes like “Only A Fool” toy with beautiful folky themes, and chaotic because the asymmetrical dynamics and rhythms are always keeping your ears coming back for more.
Cruising music, relaxing music, music to listen to while you’re thinking or reading or on a road trip. Tunes that elevate your spirit. And that’s the real reason why Privet is compared to musicians like Elliot Smith, Jose Gonzalez, or yes, even Pinback.
The guys are currently in the studio working on another full-length album, and after getting the chance to sample two brand new unreleased tracks, I’m excited to hear what will be released in the upcoming months. Bands like Privet can easily build upon their style and grow even more, making each new release that much more interesting, diverse, and mature. They’ve got a few things in store for their fans, which include not only their familiar attention to detail with complex chords and riffs, but also growth from lead singer Will, that gives his lyrics a mainstream edge that’s just catchy enough to get you singing along, but not too conventional to deter from the artwork that’s happening in the music.