Peaer’s music, much like its name, is incongruence defined. From the very first moments of stumbling piano on the album’s introductory track “Pink Split,” it is apparent that Peaer, as a whole, is an experience akin to squinting at a single star before realizing you’ve actually homed in on a fraction of a constellation. It is an exercise in misdirection and deceptive expansion, a sidestep-turned-sprint. The brainchild of accomplished guitarist Peter Katz, the Brooklyn-via-Purchase band, which was once a revolving door of rhythm sections, has firmly hit its stride with this record’s additions of bassist Michael Steck and drummer Max Kupperberg. If 2014’s the eyes sink into the skull was a record built on pensive songwriting and stop-start Duster-esque slow-core, then Peaer is all that and then some – more thoughtful and effusive than its predecessor, and yet more disorienting in its crooked appeal to the pop sensibilities of a wider audience.
Even in moments that recall the pulled-punch rhythmics of Katz’s prior work in Fugue, and even Peaer’s more math-rock oriented past releases, there remains on this latest effort a sense of unfurling. This newest stage in Katz’s work is not just winding and dense – it’s damn near a test of patience for anyone more attuned to straight-forward riffs and sing-along hooks. (Granted, these have never really been the kinds of qualities associated with Katz’s music, save perhaps for some of the more aggressively emotive Poverty Hollow songs). And yet there is a point in each song on Peaer’s second album in which the jagged build-up delivers, often with a kind of terse satisfaction, upon its grand objective of relating to the listener an intangible sense of dynamics – sonic, communicative, or otherwise. Katz’s belting vocals during the climax of “Drunk”; the round-yet-crooked dissonance of the guitar lead in “Cliff Songs”; the stuttering, angular guitar-speak on album closer “For The Rest Of Your Life” — these are just a few of the sweet spots around which Peaer‘s most adventurous moments are blueprinted; and it’s this well-honed sense of tension-and-release that allows just about everything Katz and Co. attempt on this record to pay off.
Check out Peaer playing “Pink Split” live at The Rock Room!
Article by James Sweeney