BioAsk Pitty Sing frontman Paul Holmes where his songs come from, why they sound like they do, and he'll admit: He's rather miffed about it. Critics have compared the group's instantly classic yet fresh and experimental sound to such beloved 80s acts as Simple Minds and The Smiths, but Holmes and his young bandmates did not grow up listening to any of those groups. And, while they're NOW familiar with those bands, none directly influenced or inspired the band's sound.
Ask and he'll tell you: The New York based band isn't really shooting for a particular sound; what comes out just comes out. And Holmes, who was born in Manchester, England but raised in the States, is both baffled by it and in awe of it. Remembering the night after an early rehearsal session, he says, "We had some gig coming up and we were doing these big, epic journeys through pop and electronic, real long and emotional. And I remember we were on the train on the way back home from practicing, and we just went, 'What did we just do? This is fuckin' amazing!' We went back home and listened to the cassette we made during rehearsal, and I was like, 'There's no way just anybody could do this. This must be something special.'"
While the music they made that night was sprawling, the songs comprising the band's debut album, the thirteen-track Pitty Sing are much more to the point. With Holmes' breathy, British vocals recalling everyone from Suede to Morrissey, the tracks are full of beautiful and strikingly complex melodies, delivered with teeth and a tenacity that sets Pitty Sing apart from so many of today's groups.
The songs are music from a parallel dimension, songs that remind you of a time before Britney, before Blink-182, before grunge. The band, formed in Boston but now residing in New York, has come up with a sound that is vital, but completely unaffected by the pop music of the current day. It is music from an alternate universe that projects a vibe hip enough to help create its own scene and alter the direction of what's ruling the charts.
If there's a goal, it's to come up with a memorable melody. Holmes, now 21, says, "For some reason, I just remember from being very, very young that melody from [Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark's '80s hit] 'Souvenir'. I haven't listened to it since, but it just stuck with me for some reason. And that's the vibe I want to get in my writing, and where I want to direct the band in the time being. I want a melody like that, a melody that would pierce right through to people and make them feel like their sixth birthday party, back to that innocence."