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My musical ramblings – gig and album reviews, music news and views

Pierre La Rouge – Men or Machines EP – review

One-man band singer songwriter is a difficult genre to pull off. Many who adopt that particular slice of the music industry end up grating viciously on the nerves or are simply boring, bland and samey. On the other hand, many others attempting a left of field position as a solo male artist pale into obscurity and struggle to get the recognition they deserve. Few manage to achieve the Holy Grail that is a careful balance of widespread recognition and critical acclaim.

So it is refreshing to hear Pierre la Rouge aka Pete Austin’s brand of acoustic indie, laden with metaphoric and meaningful lyrics.

Unsigned and largely an unknown quantity, the three-tracked EP, Men or Machines is his first offering to the music gods and only time can tell whether this is his Jose Gonzalez Veneer-style launch pad. But one thing is for sure, the EP proves he has the calibre to crack it.

Pierre La Rouge's EP sleeve

Pierre La Rouge's EP sleeve

‘Let Love Begin’ is a knowing tale of love missing the mark – an up tempo yet soft track with a mature melody, steady strumming guitars, changing speeds and a hint of electronics in the background. But it is the dulcet vocals of Pierre that are the stand out here and thoroughly convince the listener that he is no bedroom mirror performer – he means to stay.

With an echo of Jeff Buckley about ‘Devil With an Angel’s Smile’, the sound is stripped down to acoustic guitar and artist, so that the silences between the plucked intro which becomes the main riff are punctuated and noticeable. This serves to compliment and emphasise the vocal, leaving lines such as “He’s a lover but a killer to, he did it all but he did it all for you,“ etched in your head.

Finally, a rough cut of ‘Kiss Beneath the Pier’ tells an almost but not quite yet-style story of longing – the guitar riffs really feel like background to the story, as once again melancholic lyrics and vocals become the focus.

This is a really beautiful, heartfelt start, with lyrics that plunge to depths most bubblegum acts in the cutthroat music business can only dream of. Pierre la Rouge’s organic first offering certainly doesn’t leave him red faced.

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