Great Peacock “Gran Pavo Real” (Ropeadope, 2018)

Jason Isbell and Dave Cobb may well be redefining ‘The Nashville Sound’, but Great Peacock aren’t paying any attention. “I’m a rolling stone, I can’t sit still,” sings lead singer and guitarist Andrew Nelson, on the masterful and melodic ‘One Way Ticket’, as his band combine the sounds of 70s rock and 90s alt-country to create an aural and lyrical landscape as old as the hills. 

The Nashville band never lose sight of their southern rock influences and too often turn gorgeous opening landscapes into all out rockers at the expense of a little mystery. The lovely ‘Begging To Stay’ rolls in like a long-lost outtake from ‘Automatic For The People’ – all scuffed-up Fender Rhodes and funny noises – before turning into a flag-waving ballad, whilst the haunting ‘Take Me Down’ simmers with the heat of a southern summer.

‘Oh Deep Water’ is a glorious exception and steals the show with its muted drum fills, widescreen pedal steel and breathy vocals (“you just keep on rolling”). It’s a great song and you can’t help but wish Great Peacock could have kept their instinct in check behind their intelligence and tried a little harder to hide their obvious influences.

Sure, the likes of ‘Let’s Get Drunk Tonight’ and ‘All I Really Want is You’ are as charming as they are heartfelt, but half a dozen or so good feathers does not a great peacock make.

6/10

Summary

Hovering, rather than soaring, above the ground. There’s a tail wind, though…

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