Orville Peck – Pony
Mixing musical genres without descending into either mediocrity or camp requires a deft hand, particularly in country music. Turn to any contemporary country station, and you’re most apt to find pop music with a touch of twang and nods to long worn out tropes. George Jones did it better, realer and more authentically than any of the legions of today’s Country hit makers which is why its so refreshing to find an artist like Orville Peck. The bemasked Canadian crooner seamlessly weaves old school country (or more accurately, Western) stylings with latter era shoegaze and a touch of janglepop. The songs themselves are full of typical frontier references: being on the lonesome plain, loves won and lost along the way and the bitterness or longing that follows. Vocal comparisons to Roy Orbison are fair given Peck’s incredible range but this pastiche is immersed in influences ranging from Roy Rodgers and Slim Whitman to post new wave artists such as The Cocteau Twins and Echo and The Bunnymen. The outstanding cut “Take You Back (The Iron Hoof Cattle Call)”- a dark, bitter lost love ballad (key lyric: “I got a face of gold, I got a heart of coal. But baby, that’s my cross to bear”) lean more heavily towards the former pair while “Turn to Hate” leans more towards the latter. Heavy hearted, cynical and a bit subversive but upbeat in execution, Pony is a fantastic debut by a unique and fascinating artist. A-
Orville Peck will perform to a sold-out crowd at The Masquerade on September 24.
Words by Navin Johnson
Photo Credit: Carlos Santolalla