Local rocker David Picco has returned home after twelve years of living and making music in Toronto and he’s looking to start again with a new solo album.
Picco, known for his time as the lead singer of Jetset Motel, dropped his fourth album Start Again in November. The record is a guitar-driven rock record with touches of folk and roots and 60s psychedelia, as well as lyrics that focus on embracing a new phase in one’s life.
The album features a band of talented local musicians, as Picco is backed up by Brad Power on guitar, Paddy Byrne on bass, drummer Chris Donnelly, and multi-instrumentalist Chris Picco, who also co-produced the record. Janet Cull and Megan Marshall also provide backing vocals, while Krisjan Leslie recorded and mixed the record. The group gels well together, making for an album that’s got a cohesive sound from start to finish.
Start Again’s opening track, “Baby, I’m Gone Away,” is a bright, upbeat tune that kicks the record off with a rocking old-school vibe. The 12-string electric guitar riffs and jangly acoustic guitar strumming sail over the straight-ahead bass and drums that drive the tune. The hook is repetitive but effective as the song grooves along.
There’s more of the bright, sparkly 12-string on “Today Never Knows,” adding more of the psychedelic mood to the record. The meandering guitar melody is as unsettling as it is catchy and Picco sounds at his most cool and collected on the track. The fuzzed out guitars fill out the tune and the song builds to a finish as the vocals float above.
“Martha Mansfield” stands out among the record’s twelve tracks as the only slower, laid back tune. The song’s marching snare pattern drives the groove forward under Picco’s simple vocal melody, doubled by a distorted electric guitar. The guitars create a wall of sound with big fuzzy chords as the song comes to a close, with the organ providing a nice texture beneath.
The album’s soulful closer “Something in Mind” takes inspiration from Lou Reed’s “Ride in to the Sun” and its’ rocking, minor key groove ties up the record. There’s more acoustic strumming and gritty electric guitar, but the catchy hook pulls the song together, and the airy and almost haunting backing vocals add great texture. The organ sounds on the song also provide some nice depth as it eases to a close.
Start Again is a simple, well-produced rock record with a steady band, but Picco’s band tends to steal the show away from his singing and lyrics on some songs. The guitar work on the album shines, and is a key part of nearly every track, perhaps to the detriment of Picco’s vocals at times. All in all, however, the record is a well-polished affair that has some rocking tracks that should help David Picco to start again at home in St. John’s.