Ambling and Awesome
Critically-acclaimed, San Francisco garage rockers Mike Donovan and Ty Segall, best known for their work in the noise rock band Sic Alps, have reformed to create Peacers. After a solid run and four full-length albums, the boys decided to take a break from Sic Alps, disbanding the group in 2013. Since then, Donovan stepped away from the jarring rock and released a more relaxed, acoustically driven solo album, Wot. The docile nature of the album was a change of pace for fans of Sic Alps, yet there is promise in the debut, self-titled installation from their newest incarnation, Peacers, set to release July 17.
Peacers isn’t a continuation of Sic Alps, but seems to have been accumulated using the best aspects of both Sic Alps and Donovan’s solo material. The raw and punky brand of psychedelic garage rock attributed to Sic Alps is present, however an influence of ’60s and ’70s west coast folk rock stands out on the album. The low fi recording quality of the album gives off a warm vintage tone as if it were a dusty vinyl pulled out of an old box of LPs. Donovan’s apathetic and delightfully unorthodox vocals are almost Lou Reed-esque in their technical unsoundness. Much like Donovan’s solo material, acoustic guitars compose the backbone of the album while electric guitars create a dissonant atmosphere with distorted licks and skronky solos, making for an intriguingly disturbed compilation.
A trudging acoustic plays as the album opens with “At the Milkshake Hop,” a disjointed psychedelic song that sounds as if it were the soundtrack to a drug scene in a ’90s Tarantino film. Sloppy electric guitar anti-solos pepper the track to create a tumultuous atmosphere. The album continues into folky tracks such as “R.J.D.” and “The Kid” that stem from Donovan’s acoustic phase. “Kick on the Plane” is a standout track on the album rooted in classic rock with an unrelenting groove and a chaotic guitar solo.
A majority of the songs on the album are well under 3 minutes each; making for quick bursts of eccentricity through a short lived 15 track record. Donovan and Segall use this loose energy to successfully propel their most recent experiment through to it’s off-kilter ending. The ambling tunes might leave listeners feeling a bit strung out, in a good way.