Like Pioneers – Piecemeal

Band: Like Pioneers
Album: Piecemeal
Release Date: July 13, 2010

Piecemeal seems to be an album about comings and goings. One person championing a certain mindset, and another something way different. Their trajectories aren’t the same. Their timing… off.

Often, the music references movement. And much of that time, it’s bodies pushing in opposite directions. So, boys and girls don’t walk hand in hand in Piecemeal. Rather, it’s boys and girls marking divergent paths.

Chew on these:

  • “I’ll be on the opposite, leave me when you’re feeling low, for a week without remark, feels like it’s a blatant joke.” (“Gift From a Holiday”)
  • “The place began to empty out, a trail was made for you to follow me.” (“Gift From a Holiday”)
  • “It’s a long way down. When you see me you’ll be happy that you walked away, you’ll take the town: I can hear you brag about it now.” (“Exit Row”)
  • “Made you laugh from the moment you arrived, when you came back alone.” (“Teakettles No. 1”)

But Piecemeal isn’t a sluggish collection of sad. It’s rock disguised as something mostly peppy and fun. Kinda like how we assumed that tune by The Decemberists, “Sixteen Military Wives, was a happy one. That is, until we digested the lyrics fully.

I love “Gift From a Holiday,” actually. Among other things, the tune marks Like Pioneers‘ distinct ability to craft songs that build. Sure, it’s dynamic from the start. Yet about midway through the energy increases another, oh, 25 percent and the lyrics are loud, forceful and carry major bite. Dueling guitars, as well, pace a good minute of jam.

It’s a tune you’ll have a good time singing along to, even if you’re sayin’ stuff like: “The part of me you can’t recall makes me feel a different way: I’ll be waking up the hall screaming out a different name” and “Tables in the dining hall centered with a marking place, passed through one of my old crowds waiting for a chance to leave.”

Dark stuff, eh?

Keyboards and walking guitars, too, are a driving force in Like Pioneers’ music. I can’t make a case for it in “Holiday,” but I would in “Some People” (the lead track), “English Garden” and “Crab Candy.”

The bluesy and somber “Some People” just wouldn’t be the, well, bluesy and somber “Some People” without those keys and guitar setting the gloomy tone. The same is true in “English Garden” — though the guitars in that piece are much livelier.

And it’s stupid, sure, to say things like this because no songs would be themselves were they missing an element or more. Yet I think you get what I’m getting at.

Other observations:

  • Like Pioneers are skilled at matching their vocals with the movement of the music’s other instruments. See “English Garden” and, especially, “Metal Oscar.”
  • I can’t wrap my head around why “Crop Circles Plus Legs” is just a minute and 40 seconds.
  • The band has got one of the most unique lyrics pages on their official website. Check ’em.

Consider me a fan of the band’s 10-track debut. A Chicago supergroup, Like Pioneers is comprised of members from Bound Stems, the Narrator, Chin Up Chin Up, Vacations and other musical endeavors.


  • Like Pioneers, based in Chicago, is: Bobby Gallivan, Darren Garvey, Jesse Woghin, Dan Radzicki, Janie Porche, Dan Fleury and Matt Holland.
  • Their album, Piecemeal, is available on the group’s Bandcamp page for $8.

Like Pioneers performing “Some People” at The Hideout in May 2010

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About Eric

Hello there. Email your things to chicagotunes[at]gmail[dot]com.
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One Response to Like Pioneers – Piecemeal

  1. Pingback: Artist interview with Bobby Gallivan (Like Pioneers) | Chicago Tunes

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