Totally random: Fishing through the CD pile

The Hook receives a ridiculous amount of unsolicited music press in the form of biographies, pictures, and CDs, from the publicists of smaller bands, many of whom are not even playing venues close to town.

I must admit that few of these seemingly random mailings have contained albums that have garnered little more than the most fleeting listen on my part, but there is, of course, a reason for this. This week, thanks to a dearth of new CDs which are currently on my personal playlist– and more importantly, the fact that the show I was planning to review at Miller's Saturday night was canceled at the last minute– I'm going to fish into our large pile of new music offerings and give the random act I pick my full reviewer attention.

And the winner of this great honor is... the current holder of position #41 on the CMJ music charts, the indie-pop trio, The Pieces.

Currently on tour with ex-Lemonhead singer/songwriter (and an artist I believe turned out to be one of the biggest wastes of potential since Rod Stewart) Evan Dando in the UK, The Pieces don't even have any domestic shows scheduled, so if you want to see the act, the closest you can easily get is to gaze longingly at their picture on the back cover of this self-titled debut.

Sonically, The Pieces have all the elements currently en vogue with the more mainstream of the indie-rock genre­ big guitars, a mildly whiny singer, andРyou guessed itРa female bass player sandwiched between a male drummer and male singer/guitarist.

The latter male, Vess Ruhtenberg, writes almost all of the group's songs, which for the most part turn out to be pleasant forays into the pop genre but likely won't have much of an effect on you after you turn off the stereo.

Guitar driven mid-'90s "alterna-rock" would describe the group's sound to a T, if not for the subtle inclusion of some country rock elements-­ par for current rock bands since Wilco's recent rise to prominence. The songs here are nice, but by no means overly noteworthy.

Head-bopping, weaving-guitar tracks like "Gentlemen and Big Mistakes" are likely to get airtime, but with the current state of mainstream radio, what's that really saying?

Their debut is clean and well produced, which will not particularly endear them to the indie-rock elite whom I perceive to be their projected market. But possibly they are hoping for some kind of crossover big-time success.

And the lyrics? "I just want to be loved/Not single again/Another new break-up start over again." Definitely not the work of the next Dylan, but maybe the next Donovan?

Let me sum up my feelings about The Pieces this way: If by chance or providence, I was given the option of joining the group as the fourth member, I would beg off the honor. I've got more important things to do with my time.