by Matthew Martin
When I first heard Great Peacock's EP a few years ago, it felt like it was the beginning of something special - an inside peek at the beginning of the rise of an obscure band. 5 years later, and it still feels that way when I hear a new Great Peacock offering. The band's sophomore album is no different as the band takes a slight turn away from the gentle, melodic Americana and more towards the psychedelic, Americana-tinged rock.
The last output, their great Making Ghosts album, was everything we had been promised from their self-titled EP. It was a melodic outpouring of yearning tunes with Blount Floyd and Andrew Nelson's voices working perfectly together. The band toured restlessly off that album, coming to DC at least 4 times, I believe, during that time. Around the last couple of times the guys came through, you could hear something shift in their music. There were 2 acoustic guitars on stage, then there was one acoustic and one electric, then there were only electric guitars. The songs began to shift sonically and jam a little more.
On Gran Pavo Real, those new sounds are apparent with the opening organ-heavy jam of "Hideaway." The harmonies of Floyd and Nelson are still there and the heartbreak-driven tunes are still there, but there is a shift in the tone towards a Pneumonia-era Whiskeytown. But, never to fear, there are still hints of the old Great Peacock there - "Begging to Stay" and "Miss You Honey" being the two most akin to their previous album.
There's always a bit of concern with a new album from an artist you really like - are they going to hit the mark they were aiming for and if they do, is it the mark we're wanting to hear? Will they grow in a way that stays close to their sound but sees them exploring new themes and sounds? On all accounts, I think Great Peacock hits every note right on this Gran Pavo Real. They take a chance moving away from their first album and coming up with an even better version of themselves. They're bluesier ("Heartbreak Comin' Down"). They're subtler at times ("All I Really Want is You"). And, they're just all around better.
This is the kind of album that's just right for the upcoming Summer. It's going to be on my stereo all year long, for sure. There's a song for every occasion, high to low. And the music is rollicking and a damn good time. You should go buy this album, and then buy another for a friend. Then, go to every show these guys put on near you. Let's make the world know Great Peacock.
Gran Pavo Real will be released next Friday, March 30th and you can pre-order it at iTunes, Bandcamp, and other music outlets.