One noticeable fact about the Cincinnati-based PiKE is that they have an uncanny sonic similarity to the Pixies, insofar as female vocalist Kelly Jarvis really sounds like Kim Deal. Typically anything that mildly evokes the often-dismissed Indie Pop princess makes me beam, and PiKE is no exceptiongenerally, they are very listenable. One of the most striking aspects of their sound is that they can actually play their instruments with aplomb. The melodies are sharp and stunning, their intonation and phrasing are excellent and their vocals are pleasing. The band's first effort also yields some glower power. The inherent problem with a band that reminds you of another is the inevitable comparison between themand that the original band always is more favorably received. In the case of PiKE, their aspirations are high, but they seem to be reaching further than they can grasp. And it shows. Their lyrics are sugary and fun but lack complexity or substance, such as in the song "Dangergirl": "When I was a young girl my mama told me/Get good grades so you can go to a university." It's as though PiKE hasn't fully realized their niche in the Rock community, which often involves years of being compared with other bands until the they figure out their sound. One thing they do have on the Pixies is that male vocalist Kelley Kombrinck can carry a better tune than Black Francis.
PiKE's next local show is April 16 at Dirty Jack's (later this month they play Chicago's International Pop Overthrow). For more on the band, check myspace.com/piketheband. Buy tickets, check out performance times and nearby bars and restaurants here.