Today sees the first full-length release of the This Is American Music darlings Great Peacock. Centered around songwriters and-cofounders Andrew Nelson and Blount Floyd, Great Peacock is well on their way to proving that slow and steady really does win the race. Two years after the release of their self-titled EP, Making Ghosts (which features some re-recording of older songs) shows a band zeroing in on their sound and presentation.
Let it never be said that Ninebullets.net doesn’t have a place for polish: these eleven tracks reach us from the bubblegum-center of candy coated Nashville, and they’re as crisp and clear as you’d expect from a dispatch from that most polarizing and polarized music capital. But crisp and clear needn’t be insults, especially not when they’re combined with the sincerity and earnestness evident in these songs. There’s something refreshing about how good these songs sound, something comforting about knowing that like as not, Great Peacock will find an audience on terrestrial radio. The keening sorrow of pedal steel is practically a third vocalist on the album, and the tones are sharp enough to cut you to pieces.
There are the songs you know by now if you’ve been following the band: the uplifting anthem “Take Me To The Mountain”, the world-weary ballad of the touring band “Tennessee”, the bright harmonies of “Desert Lark”. These songs, in conjunction with the new tracks, demonstrate how capable artists can blur the lines between independent and pop; this is a record you can put on at a party without offending any of your friends’ varied musical tastes.
The opening track, “Making Ghosts”, features typical Great Peacock soaring harmonies and relaxed delivery. These guys know where they’re going and don’t mind stopping to smell the roses on the way, even during a love-lorn rock-driven beseeching of one’s love. The quiet and relentless “Church Bells” is up next, and it serves as a solid reminder that intensity doesn’t require shouting or wild electric guitars. The record is full of moments like this, little confirmations about the importance and influence of music.
Whether it’s with haunting vocals or complex and beautiful instrumentation, Great Peacock is a band endeavoring to draw an emotional response from their audience. If only all pop music was as sincere, as vulnerable, as welcoming.