Had a Piece Lately?
Review from Faze3 Magazine July 1998 Spooky Pie Had A Piece Lately? Boo Records WR013 This is low-key pop rock with a little twist. The name Spooky Pie describes the sound of the music: haunted and sweet (this from their press release '13 Facts About...'). Spooky Pie at it's core is singer-songwriter Willy Banta who plays guitar and Phyllis Teen who sings eerie harmonies and plays 'minimal keyboards from the planet Mars.' The bottom end is held down by bassist Dean Opseth and Robbie Rist on drums. The music is from the minimalist school of less is more and if you must have a thick, shimmering production job this will not fit your bill. What this does have is an uncommon direction, a unique take on pop. Spooky Pie owes more to 'white light, white heat' than the Beatles. This is scene-setting, moody Goth pop with humor more than the ear candy variety of say the Bay City Rollers or Marcy Playground. This is the DIY ethic in full swing. Pop-punk noise for weirdos. To be honest the first time through I didn't like it much but to give Had a Piece Lately? a once-over and then dismiss it would not only be unfair to the band but yourself as well. This has grown on me and I like it more every time I spin it. It seems simple at first and then becomes more complex and attains more depth with repeated listenings. Spooky Pie is an acquired taste. It is, without doubt, a pop record but not the usual saccharin. It is not throwaway hooks that bleed an unceasing snake in your ear, that after three listenings you disgust yourself for singing along. It's a bit like an exotic flavor that you come to love because it is quirky, unusual, mysterious. The best cuts here are: 'It's a Lie' (simple, sparse, a gem; the vocal blend on this is chill-bump stuff and the neat little hook is sharp and holds well), 'Ballad of Spooky Pie' (cranking, singable pop; reminds me of X), 'Am I Standing' (atmospheric Goth pop), 'Broken Watch' (a sonic mountain with deadpan vocals by Willy), 'Before the Fall' (a crunching tale of teen breakup driven by distortoguitar, bass and organ), 'I'll Never Do That Again' (more chugging pop), 'Listen to This' (another adventure into Willy's world of obtuse melodies; sweet and scary -- really lives up to the Spooky Pie name), and 'Ain't That the Way' (Roxy Music, anyone?). There are songs that are less successful, notably the last two; 'Walking After Midnight' (a trudgingly slow, dirge-like rendition of the Patsy Cline tune: sounds like the Golem pounding along on leaden feet) and 'To You' (Willy croons -- can he be serious about this one? Brian Highland? Bobby Eve?). With this debut Spooky Pie have not reached their full potential but show a lot of promise. They are sugar pop pie without the cloying sweetness and their Goth graveyard thing is without the death menace; a goof, not a religion. Had a Piece Lately? is a strong first effort. -Bmodern, Faze 3 Magazine Skratch scrawled (March 1999) Spooky Pie is a quartet from LA whose founding members got their start performing covers of X and Gram Parsons songs at parties and coffeehouses. Both Parsons and X are known for writing songs with a dark outlook. Spooky Pie definitely absorbed this quality into it's music, which sounds a lot like a cross between Parsons and the Cramps. There's a B-movie 'Monster Mash' feel to it, thanks to the keyboards. It's in the vocal harmonies that you hear X's influence. Overall, I found the CD rather subdued / mellow for my taste, but I did like the guitar on 'Am I Standing', the feel of 'Be Careful' and the catchy riff on 'Broken Watch'. Recommended to emo fans who like it slow. -TeKoLoTe.