Saturday, December 05, 2015

Pointed Sticks Nick Jones Interview & Show # 589

In 2009, Pointed Sticks, a punk/power pop band from Vancouver, released their second full-length album Three Lefts Make A Right following a reunion that began with live shows in Japan in 2006. Originally part of Vancouver’s burgeoning punk scene alongside bands such as D.O.A, The Modernettes and The Dishrags in the late 70s/early 80s among others, the Pointed Sticks combined their razor sharp witty lyrics with songwriting hooks. While they were part of the punk scene, like many punk bands, they took from a variety influences and were not just a band that played music at 100 miles per hour. Following a series of singles, EPs and an album entitled Perfect Youth in 1980, Pointed Sticks initial split was in 1981. But, after 2009’s Three Lefts Make A Right, Pointed Sticks went on a hiatus of sorts. In July of 2015, they returned with a self-titled album. Recorded by the band themselves at keyboardist Gord Nicholl’s studio, Pointed Sticks spent approximately five years working on this material, crafting their songs to define the sound that would present itself on this album. Doused in organ/keyboards provided by Gord Nicohll, subtle, melodic basslines by Tony Bardach, fuzzy guitar from Bill-Napier Hemy, the solid drum grooves of Ian Tiles and sharp thought provoking vocals by Nick Jones, Pointed Sticks features ten new songs.

Pointed Sticks opens with “La La La”, the song features dominate organ provided by Gord-Nicholl, crunchy guitar and lyrics provided with conviction by Nick Jones. Pointed Sticks start off this album, with catchy hooks and a 60s garage aesthetic. “You’re Not The One” adds in keyboards and salty acoustic guitars, contrasted with electric guitar that sounds as if it could have been on “Five Foot One” from Iggy Pop’s 1979 album New Values. “Broke”, another strong point on Pointed Sticks, adds to the band’s classic pop formula. This song provides the listener with guitar lines ala David Bowie & The Spiders From Mars guitarist Mick Ronson or Mick Jones of The Clash, flooding organ sounds and lyrics that seem to recall a realization. With lyrics such as “I should have known that for all these years”, “I was pushed out of line/I was losing track of the time” and “I never should’ve trusted fate/But everybody makes mistakes”, Pointed Sticks take their strong pop melodies while at the same time displaying a message of duality, one of which sounds like the story of a worn down human being, but the other that could perhaps relate to the band’s own situation. In “Broke”, Jones also seems to be reflecting on Pointed Sticks own predicament, contrasting realistic views of the past and present with a new hope, giving the song another element that warrants repeat listens. As many tracks do on this album.

“Lovely Bird” comes off with a sound in the vein of the sounds found on Vic Goddard & The Subway Sect’s 1980 album What’s The Matter Boy, while “Tin Foil Hat” blends jazz with French pop music. When speaking with Jones back in 2009, he mentioned that the band would bring a little bit of experimentation to their sound, and this song written and sung by bassist Tony Bardach, does just that. Bringing in dusty acoustic melodies, and hazy accordion flourishes, the lyrics tell the story of a rogue who is both rambunctious and invincible when wearing his a tin foil hat that was discovered on the street. “Skerabap’, a short approximately 40 second acoustic instrumental written by guitarist Napier-Hemy serves, along with “Tin Foil Hat”, as not just the halfway point of this album but also part of what separates it from the rest. In addition to their already emphasized pop dynamics and strong hooks, it shows that Pointed Sticks are still willing to try new things and not be pigeonholed. And despite the contrast in musical styles, these songs only add to the depth and overall melodies found on this album.

“Impatient” musically sounds like it is part “Gloria” by Them mixed with keyboard parts from an early Doors song, as the chorus kicks in, its infectiousness drives home a story about a character that wants to move forward, but does things so quickly that she doesn’t give them time to develop. “Yesterday’s Girl” is a song sung by keyboardist Gord Nicholl and is the first Pointed Sticks song that he has sung lead vocals on, “Tsune’s Song” is a stop and start power pop song that was written in part with Tsuneglam Sam of the Tokyo glam pop band Young Parisienens. The album ends with the song “Simply Nothing”. Featuring primarily acoustic guitar and a Ray Davies Kinksian slant circa their Lola vs. Powerman period, this defy all odds love song can also be reflective of Pointed Sticks in 2015. With a new album out and hopes to tour Europe, Pointed Sticks don’t pretend to be something they’re not on this album. They aren’t trying to re-write their past. The music and lyrics has an honesty that looks forward based on the experiences of the past, while at the same time maintaining the band’s boy meets girl songwriting dynamic. With this album Pointed Sticks reach what seems like another new beginning.

Listen to the interview that I did with Nick Jones of Pointed Sticks here:

Saturday Night Playlist:

1. Chips & Co. - Let The Winds Blow
2. Natives From Earth - How Can I Miss You (If You Won’t Go Away)
3. Archie & The Bunkers - Sally Lou
4. Bob Dylan I Want You (Take 4)
5. Chastity - Manning Hill
6. Hook And Eye - Poacher Of The King's Deer
7. Dirty Ghost - Cataract
8. The Milk Monitors - Drag You Down
9. The Victims - I Understand
10. Pointed Sticks - La La La

Nick Jones Pointed Sticks Interview

11. Pointed Sticks - You’re Not The One
12. Patti Smith - Wicked Messenger
13. Charlie Pickett & The Eggs - Overtown
14. Indian wars - Eight Feet High
15. George Jones - No Money In This Deal
16. Andre Williams - My Tears
17. Alex G - Bug
18. Pylon - Volume
19. X-Ray Spex - Germ Free Adolescents
20. Nervous Talk - Different Person
21. Young Rival - Living Like You Should

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for December 5. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

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