The sheer number of bands and projects that Marty Willson-Piper lends his talents to, often simultaneously, is a sign of a talent for deft sonic tightrope walking, meticulous logistics, boundless energy and perhaps a slight touch of madness. It also means that there is no such thing as a signature MW-P sound with songs ranging from the jangling echoes of his formative years to the darker and more electronica driven, between the rocking and the more restrained, and covering everything in between.
Gone By Noon, a teaser from the band’s forthcoming second long-player Poison Stream, is a gloriously baroque slice of pop and here the aforementioned Mr W-P and multi-instrumentalist Niko Röhlcke weave together lush and languid sonic backdrops tinged with melancholy and regret. And there is something in the gentle, shimmering harpsichord riff which punctuates the song, something in the slightly world-weary vocals, which together conjures images of cold war trysts and central European espionage. Listen even closer and you can hear just the merest hint of the nostalgic tones associated with the likes Richard Hawley hanging over the song. It’s a gorgeous piece of chamber-pop, full of mystique and broken promises, lost romance and relationships run aground; beguiling, strange and beautiful.
Most artists covering so much ground, with fingers in so many sonic pies, could perhaps be described as “spread thin” or accused of being “over-committed.” With Marty Willson-Piper it seems that no matter how many bases he attempts to cover, how many musical voyages he signs on to, he still manages to reach benchmarks which many seemingly more focused musicians could only dream of.
I sometimes wonder if there is not a secret lab on the edge of Manchester which has been cloning him for years, it’s the only explanation I can think of. But then I’m still not even sure about the truth of the moon landings so I’m probably not the most reliable source.