Last night I had the great good fortune to see Great Peacock live for the first time. I’ve been listening to them for years now, their virtues lovingly espoused by their supporters over at This Is American Music, and I reviewed their debut album Making Ghosts right here. While I undoubtedly enjoyed their music, it was seeing them play in a half-empty Hollywood club that made me a fan.
Perhaps you feel a little too relaxed when you listen to Great Peacock, as I did. Their songs are beautiful flowing things where even the most difficult subject matter is dealt with at an even tempo. While there’s definitely a place for this music, I myself have a hard time identifying with it. I don’t know if last night’s live show was the exception or the rule, but Great Peacock was by no means relaxed. Perhaps it was the inevitable difficulty of the First West Coast Tour, or perhaps something a little deeper, but the band played with a chip on their shoulder and let me tell you: it was good.
Each of the songs that I loved from their previous releases (“Tennessee”, “Take Me to the Mountain”, “Broken Hearted Fool”) was played just a little bit faster and a lot louder than their recorded counterparts. Front man Andrew Nelson shredded on electric guitar in a decidedly un-pop/folk matter, and the rhythm section of Ben Cunningham on bass and Nick Recio on drums had just as much willingness to turn up the volume. Blount Floyd bounced around the stage as he is wont to do, providing an energetic counterbalance to Nelson’s straightforward intensity.
They played a few new songs, and their sound and content hinted at what may be a future direction for the band- their most rock’n’roll song had a particularly somber chorus: “Love is just a word that you say”. This heartbroken sentiment alone would be interesting, but backed by skilled rockers and the band’s usual ethereal harmonies it is downright captivating.
I came away from the show impressed and excited- I’ll be sure to see these guys as soon as I can, and I suggest you do the same. If you don’t own their Making Ghosts release I suggest you pick it up now, and if you’re anywhere near their tour (dates below) you should see these guys before they blow up.
Great Peacock Tour Dates:
||Standing Sun Winery
||The Continental Room
||San Diego, CA
||The Lowbrow Palace
||El Paso, TX
||San Antonio, TX
||New Orleans, LA
||House of Blues
||St Louis, MO
||Midpoint Music Festival
||The Evening Muse
||The Hi-Tone Cafe
||Benny’s Boom Boom Room
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.
Pick the record up on Bandcamp, like the band on Facebook, and check out the TIAM site for more great music
01 Making Ghosts