CD REVIEW: Big Tribe (Peter Panyon) - From the Fringes
by: Cyrus Rhodes
Artist/Band: Big Tribe (Peter Panyon)
From the Fringes
Psychedelic Rock, Alternative Rock, Indie Rock
Weakness: Winded Songs, Amateurish Mix/Production,
In music, breaking rules and challenging conventional wisdom are often deliberate efforts to establish a marketing niche, but for Big Tribe it's probably a natural state of mind. Composer, musician producer Peter Panyon just released his latest CD entitled “From the Fringes” in 2014. If Big Tribe were a circus, I would, I guess, be the ringmaster. Big Tribe is an innumerate, geographically diffuse, polygenerational band of creative folks who love doing this. Most of us live within a couple of hours of Washington, D.C., spread out over much of Maryland, Virginia, and the District. Some of us have been playing together for decades; some of us are newly met. Most of us have played with most of us, more times than anyone can count. Band consists of (Bonnie, Dave, Joe, Liz, Michael, Peter) are The Fabulous Neptones, the core of Big Tribe. About half of the tunes on "From The Fringes" have all the Neptones; the others have at least two or three of us. All but one of the songs have various other Big Tribe people in the mix.
The CD quickly takes to flight with rocks steady intro piece “The Apple and the Mango”. This song serves up infectious rocked out musical ambience against mesmerizing vocals, harmonica, hypnotic guitar and keyboards, harmonies and driving rock rhythm that gently leads you by the hand down the path of trippy/poppy musical indulgence. Track 2 “Dancing in Somebody’s Dream” shifts gears a bit with its methodical intro, melodic alternative rock vibe with melodic violin and infectious vocals from Panyon and company. Track 3 “Dangerous Girl” is an impressive hooky-rock piece that is full of musical peaks and valleys, impressive harmonies that flow and ebbs its way through to emotional fruition. By track 4 this CD hits solid stride delivering many impressive songs back to back. As the CD slowly unfolds I can hear many musical influences reminiscent of a classic Todd Rundgren, Timbuk 3, David Byrne, CCR, The Cars however I can even hear brief flashes of They Might be Giants” and even a dash of The Flaming Lips. I would classify this music as trippy Singer/Songwriter, R&B fused Alternative Rock with a fun and eccentric Psychedelic, Indie College Rock flair. I can also hear some dub-experimental music with classic remnants of Poppy Alternative Rock. The CD at times presents brilliant peak and valley flow via a strong artistic perspective. Besides the four piece standard you will also notice rich layers of organ, saloons style piano, melodic soundscapes, sporadic percussion, rhythm guitar, grooving 50’s style and R&B Style guitar licks, organ, keyboards, accordion, solo guitar, lush harmonies, keyboards, low end beats, sonic vocals, exotic sound effects and enticing melodies - all built on a thick as a brick rhythmic foundation. Panyon and company showcases impressive yet zany singing and songwriting skills throughout. His musicianship and compositions are pretty solid across the board as Panyon is clearly letting it all hang out in a fun way with this release. All production aspects are above the bar.Panyon has an effective carefree baritone and all harmonies are effective and well placed. From rocking “Boogiewoogie John” and “Put Those Things Away” to melodic “Home Beyond the Sky” to heartfelt “Can’t Work the River” to striking “Blood Moon Rising” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 11 “Pearl” the perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.
All songs over 3.5 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. Some aspects of the mix sound a bit amateurish lacking continuity track to track – especially on high end speakers. I don’t get the cover art/ concept.
From the Fringes” by Big Tribe (featuring Peter Panyon) is a zany, fun, compelling musical journey. This DIY composer, producer, musician is making waves for themselves for a reason. Its strong suit is its amazing producers touch and song for song musical flow. Panyon gets high marks from me for delivering a zany, carefree vibe - nice touch. This CD will be a real joy for those listeners out there who want flowing trippy musical experience to fill their atmosphere. This straight forward, easy to digest musical format makes for a great musical experience many will enjoy. I recommend you just hit play, close your eyes and see where the journey takes you.