Memory’s a slippery thing, a hydra always bound to grow back twice as strong. It’s a beast that WATERS addresses, and conquers, on this debut release.
For one so young, songwriter Van Piersalowski’s had quite a full past. After traveling around the world with his former band, the remarkably successful Oakland folk-rock outfit Port O’Brien (which subsequently disbanded), he went nomadic, hitting Norway, Alaska, and New York, brewing new songs for a new project. Meanwhile his friends in California patiently waited for the troubadour to wash back up on their shores.
And a few months ago, he did, with a brand new album in tow. Out In The Light proves to be an exciting new direction for Pierszalowski. It features new, energetic personnel, headbangers, fist-pumpers, and a sound that, overall, rocks harder than Port O’Brien. All the same, the album still offers glimpses of sweet introspection on tracks like the affectionately delivered “San Francisco” and “Mickey Mantle.” Pierszalowski’s got the same knack for song craft, and though his voice still has its distinct boyish crackle, he attacks his parts with mature vehemence.
WATERS couldn’t exist without its past, though, and each of the songs on the debut long-player confront a vast array of has-beens and what-ifs. Thankfully, it’s not painful or beseeching. Rather than kicking rocks at the side of the road, it feels like Pierszalowski is barreling ahead, one eye on the rear-view mirror. (Tbd Records)