Release Date: Jan 28, 2014
Record label: Yep Roc
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Perhaps you had Peggy Sue marked as just another band of Mumford-ogling folksters, all charm and smiles but precious little in the way of spike or substance. If so, ‘Choir Of Echoes’ might just be the album that brings the light to you and the other last remaining nonbelievers. Peggy Sue’s fourth LP impresses throughout, a record of soulful depths and heady, emotional highs.
Despite being in existence for almost 10 years, Brighton trio Peggy Sue – formerly known under the rather clumsy full name Peggy Sue And The Pirates – have never quite managed to break through into the mainstream consciousness. As their name change suggests, the band have tinkered with various elements over the years, including their DIY indie folk sound, but Rosa Rex, Katy Klaw and Olly Joyce are yet to really make their mark. However, almost three years on from their well-received second album, Acrobats, Peggy Sue’s new record is set to change that.
Ever since their Peggy Sue and the Pirates and Peggy Sue and the Pictures days, Peggy Sue were misfits in the nu-folk scene that grew around them. Even on their debut album, Fossils and Other Phantoms, they were too unpredictable and edgy to fit in with more lucratively easy-to-read acts like Mumford & Sons, and the band's turn toward moody rock on their second album, Acrobats, felt like a reflection of this. Three years after that album's release, Peggy Sue seem more comfortable with their folky past as well as their indie pop flirtations, and they balance all the aspects of their music on Choir of Echoes with more flair than they've shown in some time.
Remember ‘nu-folk’? It was a label that actually served some descriptive purpose. ‘Nu-rave’ had nothing whatsoever to do with actual rave music, although was admittedly a damn sight snappier than ‘Nu-Vapid Electro Pop That Existed Solely To Soundtrack Rimmel Ads’, and of course ‘nu-metal’ exclusively conjures up images of Fred Durst performing the move that became his signature – angrily thrusting his crotch into the camera whilst spouting utter nonsense. ‘Nu-folk’, though – clunky a tag as it was – was used as an umbrella term for those acts that, cynically or otherwise, were drawing fairly superficial influence from folk music and applying it to their own pop palette.
Attaching a greater meaning to a piece of art only works if the art keeps to its end of the bargain. Brighton indie get up Peggy Sue has said of their new album ‘Choir of Echoes’ that it is about voices: “Choir of Echoes in an album about singing. About losing your voice and finding it again. Choruses.
Dum Dum Girls, based in New York, and Peggy Sue, a British band, started in different realms: punky for Dum Dum Girls, folky for Peggy Sue. But there are moments on their two new albums when they are making nearly the same music, with women’s voices, a galloping beat and a guitar swathed in ….
Continuing the sharp left turn begun on their last album, the one they aptly entitled Acrobats, Peggy Sue opt to go in an even more daring direction, pumping up the pacing and turning every song into a propulsive, percolating outpour. All traces of the darker designs and freak folk purveyed early on is gone now, and in its place a more confident and cocksure band has emerged — one that’s looser, more effusive and readily able to shift their stance as the material allows.. Opening track “(Come Back Around)” sets the standard, its cathedral-like chorale giving the album title its due.