PAWL @ Hard Rock Cafe

It's a secret go-to cliché of publicists everywhere: If a band's biography says its music "defies categorization," it usually can be pegged in four words or fewer. In other words, it's code for "I'm not into this band enough to sit back and contemplate what this music really is." PAWL uses the same phrase to characterize his music, but it might not be a cop-out for the pianist/percussionist/mixer extraordinaire. Grasping what PAWL actually is is the issue. PAWL is the cinematic dream-pop project of one man, but it's also a collective of his musical friends, who elaborate on his Keane-like piano pop. It's the tribal beats, funky guitars, and alternative flair that take PAWL's sound beyond four-word classification. It's a bit jazzy, a bit modern, and rife with rock perspective, but that sound has changed over time. After releasing three full-length records in the past two years (with another one, Modified Dreams, on the way), PAWL has ranged from quiet, introspective ballads to all-out, crashing piano rock. He's nothing if not prolific. Splitting his time between Phoenix and Chicago, his prolific songwriting nature and multiple scenic influences contribute to something, dare we say, unique?

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