by Francis Nayan
If you look at them, you would probably think they play the standard-hipster-acoustic-kitschy-Mumford and Sons-like guitar songs that have currently taken over the “indie mainstream.” They are six white guys who look like they stepped out of an episode of Portlandia, complete with thick-rimmed glasses, tight pants and a slightly pretentious aura. But you’ll be surprised when you play the first track to the debut album, “Can’t Talk Medicine,” because there is more to the band Pickwick than meets the eye.
Pickwick has been selling out shows up and down the Pacific Northwest with its ’60s-and ’70s-inspired soul, heavy on passion, groovy melodies, and hooky lyrics that get your foot tapping before you realize it. Listening to lead singer Galen Disston, you may mistake him for a sultry female soul singer down on her luck in a dirty dive bar in Memphis. In reality, a nerdy-looking guy with Buddy Holly glasses that breathes goodness with his soulful howl and upbeat attitude in every note is the one intoxicating you.
“Hacienda Motel” is one of my favorite tracks, with its danceable beat and Stax Records-esque guitars. But with lyrics such as, “That whore, she left you bloody, on the hotel lobby floor. / Even though she took your money, oh you know she needed more,” you see that it’s bluesy in every sense of the word.
Another favorite song, “Window Sill,” is about losing your mind. Disston howls the chorus, “and I jump off the window sill,” followed by a audience-participatory “whoa-oh-oh-oh” that is sure to make you raise your hands in the air and bust a dance move your significant other didn’t know you had.
Every song that Pickwick produced has its own sound, yet stays close to soulful rock ‘n’ roll. Can’t Talk Medicine is soulful infectious indie-pop filled with bluesy southern style guitar riffs, groovy bass-lines and gritty lyrics perfect for rocking out on a road trip to nowhere or dancing by yourself in the comfort of your room.