CD REVIEW: Peacock Flounders - Hello Beautiful
By Levi Canfield
The Peacock Flounders
The Peacock Flounders, hailing from New Haven, CT, released their debut LP in 2008. The four members are veterans from an earlier age, taking their licks at today’s scene. With most of the LP split between writing of the two lead singers (Kerry and Ron), the 40 minute album flows cohesively through all 10 tracks.
The album starts off with the Title track from the album, “Hello Beautiful” which sets up what’s in store for the next 40 minutes. With bubblegum lyrics, and upbeat guitar riffs, this album just begs to be listened to while driving in the middle of the summer, with the sun roof down. With a lot of the album being a respectful nod to a generation lost, it manages to keep things fresh enough to make it a worthy listen. Switching between the vocals of Kerry and Ron blend seamlessly through out the album. Kerry’s rich voice even recurs images of Ian Curtis from Joy Division. That is not to say Ron doesn’t do his job; The most radio- friendly song “I Forget” was written and sung by him. Short and to the point. This would be the definitive song in defining The Peacock Flounders sound. In the middle of the album, the band drops probably their richest song “Ride”, which literally takes you on a sonic ride. The distant vocals keep the burrowing beat plodding along just before it falls off leaving you wanting more. The album carries along with the same pop single sense appeal before leaving with “Sonic Believer”. Despite it’s punk/rock appeal, it really shows the chops that these guys can crank out a banger with ease and sensibility without seeming trite.
Unfortunately, with all the easy guitar hooks to get caught on, this album happens to fall short in its songwriting prowess. Many of the chorus’s don’t feel strong enough to be repeated so many times. Songs like “Oh So Easy” and “Rage” tend to drone on past their welcome. Depth within the lyrics patronizes the listener as well. The songs do not leave the listener with a solid message aside from “keep a smile on”. Veteran listeners will also be disappointed by their overall lack of originality. Having an album that sounds like it was cut from 1980 can be a double edged sword. It might bring in new listeners to an old sound, but it will shun the diehard fans of the genre they are playing for. The four piece’s instrumentation weakness can definitely be spotted in the drums. Many of the songs just involve simple fills to keep the guitar and lyrics going. With the drum role being filled by both Kerry and Jeff the band gives an impression that they didn’t have the ability to get a good drummer on board. Instead they just had to fill in, and make do with what they had. Unfortunately during a lot of the album it really starts to show after listening for awhile.
If only the band had a time machine this album would seem more relevant. Catching the ears of new listeners for decades past is this albums best selling point. They were able to keep up with their fore fathers, but didn’t manage to bring up much else new material to the table. A band compiled of the original Post Punk era boys gives these experienced men the feeling that they just want to have fun. Not to be taken too seriously, this album leaves it very open for listening to anybody. This album acts as a time machine for the crowd that missed their chance to see such acts as The Psychedelic Furs, Jesus &The Mary Chain, or New Order. The band has produced a tightly played album the manages to keep the listener going from front to back without wanting to skip any tracks, yet I doubt that there would be many times anyone would find themselves skipping ahead either. An album that would have been great by yesterdays standards, now only finds itself average.
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