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Haggis
Piper Down

by Bernadette Giacomazzo
March 21, 2000


File Under: Indie Rock
rating: 3.9 out of 5
tracks

1. Turpentine

2. Humming

3. Motor Roller

4. Chemical Antifreeze

5. Telling Lies

6. Make Up 

7. Uphill Climb

8. Domino

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  • Haggis
  • Haggis, as a unit, are an explosive live band. Their performances have established them as quasi-legends on the Arizona local circuit, and they are, without a doubt, their homestate's most original offering. So, it's fair to say that no tape, DAT, CD or MP3 could fully, properly capture their raucous offerings.

    It may also seem that their sophomore album, PIPER DOWN, is prone to all the failings of countless other sophomore albums before them -- the word alone, from the Latin for "immature", suggests a band floundering in the glaring limelight that fame brings, and the music suffering with them -- but Haggis have never been a band to follow form in any aspect of their career, and their sophomore effort is no exception.

    Touted as a "premier post-alternative band", Haggis tweak the collective noses of early-80's mood music, Van Halen, and frat-rock splendor with the opener, "Turpentine". Lead singer and principal songwriter Brian Talenti waxes nostalgic about New Romantic fashions with uncompromising guitar riffs and pounding drums(as supplied by new skinsman Jack Obregon).

    It is this sort of driving, neo-Zep mentality and sound that allows Haggis to carve their own niche in rock 'n' roll(remember that word, kids?); one listen to "Domino" and you want to give bass player Moon an Academy Award for his flair for drama with humor(him, right next to Celine Tampon -- uh, Dion, sorry). It is this drama and humor, though, that is the main unifying force in the Haggis machine, with topics ranging from S&M and bondage to sound sampling and virus-ridden machinery, sometimes all in the same song. You feel like kidnapping Blink-182 and sitting them in the audience of a Haggis show to give them a good lesson or two.

    Like it or not, Haggis' ragamuffin style keeps hope alive for the next wave of rock 'n' roll. Will they ever find that ham sandwich? Will they ever return Casey Moore's beloved owl? Will people ever stop mistaking Moon for Robert Plant's long-lost illegitimate child? Don't ask; just sit back and enjoy the music.

    Bernadette Giacomazzo is a contributing columnist. Contact her at g-force@rockzone.com.


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