My Feelings for Pickwick

Posted by on Sunday, March 24, 2013

So this happens a lot where I have these things I want to post on here but then I get busy and distracted and by the time I get around to actually posting on here I've moved on to something else I want to post about. But this one keeps haunting me.

There's this band everyone seems to love. At least here in Seattle they do but they're a Seattle band so I'm not sure how they're fairing outside this city. I'm guessing they're also somewhat popular other places but I feel like sometimes Seattle is in it's own little music bubble so I don't know.
Aaanyway, their name is Pickwick. They just came out with a new album but I first heard of them roughly a year ago. A photographer I was working with at the time was raving about them and told me if I liked the Black Keys, I'd like them. I love the Black Keys so I figured I'd try 'em out.
When I finally got around to listening to them, I could hear where she (the photographer) was coming from. They definitely have a little bit of a bluesy feel. The lead singer also has that old, soulful voice that seems to be coming back in style. But there's something about them that just doesn't do it for me. This is actually a pretty common occurence for me. I don't often like music my friends do and it's always kind of bothered me a little bit but I like to like things. I especially like liking things that the people I like like (likelikelike). But, for some reason I've really struggled with this particular band. It has really bothered me that I don't love them like my friends do. By definition, I should love Pickwick. I love soul, I love the blues, I love vintage sounds. I've tried loving them. I don't hate them. I do like them. They play really well and their songs are pretty well written but I just feel like they're lacking something. I keep listening to them in hopes that maybe it'll change. Maybe I'll hear what everyone else hears. That's never happened and it's been horrible. One day I actually found out someone else feels the same way I do.

I turned them on at work once, trying to love them and the photographer on the set next to mine piped up "Is that Pickwick?" I told him yes and he gave me one of those "oh"s that hints at a lack of excitement. He and I tend to have similar taste/opinions about music so I was curious to hear what he had to say about Pickwick. He told me he didn't love them and I'll never forget how he put it because he nailed it.

"I feel like they're just filling a genre."

Yeeeees! I thought. That's it! They're only playing music just for the sake of playing music and they found a genre they can play well so that's what they're doing.
For a while after that revelation, I put Pickwick out of mind, having understood better why I wasn't in love. But they came back to haunt me.
They played on new years in Seattle and a few of my friends went. They tried getting me to come but I declined. Since then, they've continuously come up in conversations. I would try to avoid these conversations, afraid that if I had to tell my friends how I really felt, they'd think I was a snob. If I had to participate, I would just passively tell them "Oh, yeah, Pickwick? They're good." Because they are good, I just don't think they're good.
I was starting to doubt my feelings on them again, wanting to love them and hating that I couldn't. Then a few weeks ago they played a free show at a record store and a friend of mine was going so I figured I'd go. It was free and maybe if I saw them live, I'd fall in love.
Their performance was good, nothing spectacular but enjoyable. But as they played, my feelings stayed the same and all I could do was stand there, frustrated, trying to figure what exactly they were missing. And then something happened.
It was the second to last song and they lead singer introduced it as a Lou Reed cover. Naturally, I perked up a little as I'm in love with Lou Reed. They proceeded to play a song I had never heard before but it was amazing. Not only was it unlike any Reed song I had yet to hear, but it was unlike any of the songs Pickwick had previously played. The song was called Ostrich and it broke them. It was like through the whole show they were just actors, playing this part. Then all of a sudden they were real people. They were in their element. They got crazy and moved, broke a sweat even. This was Pickwick. They meant this song. They felt this song and so did I. The next song they played (the last song of the set) felt a little more free and comfortable than the beginning of the show but it wasn't the same as that cover. They had broken loose and then gone back to acting. But I felt like I had a little more insight to my feelings for the band and felt better.
I went home that night and looked up this Lou Reed song they played. Before he was in The Velvet Underground, Reed wrote songs for a record company for other bands to play. This particular song, The Ostrich was written for a band called The Primitives while Reed was working for a label by the name of... Pickwick Records.
So, here are my final thoughts on this matter of Pickwick. Clearly, they are Lou Reed fans. I feel like this song they covered is more true to them then anything else I've heard them play. So what I want to know is why they aren't playing more like it? Why are they filling this other genre? I don't know. But I'd really like to know. I have warmed up to them a little more since that show and since listening to their new full length album (Can't Talk Medicine, released March 13th, look it up).

I'd really like to hear other people's thoughts on Pickwick too. Please comment and tell me what you think. Actually I would really love more comments and discussions on this blog in general. I love hearing other people's thoughts on the things I post about because I know my opinions aren't everyones nor are the always correct. So please speak up. I especially want to hear thoughts on this post.

One Comment

  1. I love Pickwick too. They are signing the opening day of the Mariners. And I think that's cool.


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