TRIFFID ALBUM OF THE WEEK: PONY BY ORVILLE PECK

28 November 2019 | Blog

November 27 – December 3

Imagine for a moment, that the song writing DNA of Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley was somehow spliced with The Lone Ranger (if The Lone Ranger was a lonely, introspective cowboy) and brought up to contemporary music’s standards; add a splash of 80’s New Wave and a healthy dose of Folk Rock, and voila, we have the bewildering yet somehow still charismatic character that is Orville Peck. Shrouded in secrecy as to who Peck truly is, largely due to him wearing a Lone Ranger inspired mask, including tassels that cover his mouth and jaw; the singer/songwriter came out with his first single Dead of Night in 2017. An incredible Country ballad released seemingly out of nowhere by a mysterious stranger with no immediately obvious history, Peck quickly garnered international attention with his masked image and impressively distinctive vocals and song writing.

Two years later in March of 2019, Orville released his debut album Pony to instant praise from a wide audience for its often dreamy guitar, reverberated vocal tones, and it’s witty, interesting lyrics about love, loss and revenge. Opening with the aforementioned Dead of Night, Pony starts strong and only gets stronger throughout its 41 minute run time. The 3 songs following: Winds Change, Turn to Hate, and Buffalo Run are some of the most high energy cuts on the album, all of which include elements of New Wave, Alt-Country and Folk Rock. Combined with Peck’s sensational vocals and unique way of storytelling, these 3 songs are powerful, dance inducing, sad cowboy bangers, complete with the occasional yeehaw that really completes the experience.

Following those tracks, Orville treats us to a number of slower paced ballads with the singer’s demanding voice, backed by tremolo soaked guitar with plenty of slide thrown in to great effect. These tracks cover some of the darkest subject matter on the album such as the impermanence of the things we hold close to us on Queen of the Rodeo, or Kansas (Remembers Me Now), which is about the Clutter Family murders committed in Halcomb, Kansas in 1959. Peck delivers a final burst of energy on the third last track Take You Back (The Iron Hoof Call); an Alternative Country flavoured revenge ballad complete with gunshot samples, whip cracks, whistles and one final yeehaw. Following this, the album closes with Hope To Die and Nothing Fades Like the Light – 2 of the slowest cuts on the album yet some of the most poignant and chill inducing. They serve as an exquisitely sombre end to a beautiful foray into a genre that often gets the short end of the stick in our modern world.

9 months after its release this album stands as one of the strongest, most interesting debut albums to be released in 2019; particularly taking into account the fact that Peck produced and recorded the entire thing himself. The production is spacious and lush, mixed with the distinct cowboy overtones of the album, it feels as if it was intended to be listened to on a juke box in a saloon, contemplating your woes over a whiskey, neat, all alone in the middle of the night.