Billy Harvey

Pie (Palo Santo Records)

Texas Platters

In 2003, while still lead guitarist for local king Bob Schneider, Billy Harvey would isolate himself on the back of the tour bus and write songs. Sixteen years and a slew of DIY and studio releases later, his sophomore album sees a remastered reissue, vinyl release, and bonus tracks that recapture the singer-songwriter who produced local favorites Dear Danger (2015) and Elephants in the Room (2017).

Properly released in 2004, Pie unveiled a pop panache underlined by an underdog streak that doubles down on juvenile chagrin in "Like a Boy" and the youthful malaise of "Dope Wings." Like Beck and Wilco, the Illinois-born journeyman demonstrated a willingness to explore a plethora of genres funneled into fine-tuned hooks. Harvey's expanding diorama of anthemic rock ("Invisible," "Belly Up") and bare-bones acoustics ("Dealer Plates," "Bluebird") features crafty bass work from his longtime bassist George Reiff, who passed in 2017 from cancer.

Zealous naivete threads opener "Stupid Daniel" as lo-fi electronics and overdriven thumps segue into staccato bass backbone and R2-D2 blips in "Piggyback Ride." His lurching warble and free-flow insouciance seesaw with repetitive bass fuzz, evincing a catatonic cool in "Dope Wings," while twofer "Supergrey" and "Barnaby Jonze" bends to his neurotic synth play, Ambien-dosed flows, and jaunty piano lines. Through idiosyncratic left turns into Americana addled The Arsonist in 2018, Pie now ranks toward the top of Austin's unsung treasures.


A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Billy Harvey
Nerd Burn
Nerd Burn
How WEFAIL has succeeded while spending way too much time online

Wells Dunbar, Feb. 17, 2006

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Everything Hits at Once: The Best of Spoon (Record Review)

Libby Webster, Sept. 6, 2019

Texas Platters
Jordan Moser
Long Night (Record Review)

Rachel Rascoe, Sept. 6, 2019

More by Alejandra Ramirez
Texas Platters
Jimmie Vaughan
Baby, Please Come Home (Record Review)

Sept. 6, 2019

Texas Platters
Fuzzybrain (Record Review)

Aug. 9, 2019


Billy Harvey

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle