Alun Piggins Awaken The Snakes

After a modest acoustic debut that found singer Alun Piggins proving he could stand on his own without major labels, the former Morganfield has plugged in and turned up the volume for his second solo effort. Piggins has further refined his craft and knack for writing heartfelt maladies on Awaken The Snakes. The delivery is fully realised; pushing it head and shoulders above anything he’s attempted previously. Unlike his work in the Morganfields, Piggins is writing songs that fall within his vocal register and thereby letting him cram as much feeling as possible into each song and letting him retain the playful nature to those records. Extra instrumentation (keys, horns and mandolin) bolsters songs like "Garbage Inspires,” "Turn Away,” and "Girl Inside,” rather than clutter the arrangements. Piggins occasionally indulges in his Celtic roots ("Across From Anglesey”), but the overwhelming influence this time around is country and western music (played as only Piggins can on the "Islands In The Stream” goof "Let’s Get It On” featuring Oh Susanna). Piggins wears all of these hats convincingly without letting the constraints of genre rule the day; from beginning to end it’s impossible to mistake Awaken The Snakes as the work of more than one musician. What Awaken The Snakes really proves is that, while Piggins has professed to be washed up before, he hasn’t even peaked yet. Awaken The Snakes illustrates that Piggins is on his way to being the best Canadian songwriter you’ve never heard. But you will hear about him. Soon. (AML)