Startlingly immersive with the craft and ability to turn the listener into a castaway lost in an expansive seduction of suggestive pop majesty within a dreamy soundscape in its rawest breath, the debut album from Passenger Peru is an experience you cannot help licking your lips over before each and every encounter. It is a mouthwatering collection of warm and elegant persuasions bred in an exploration which is bold and bravely adventurous. The self-titled album is as mentioned pop in its rawest most potent form but with an inspiring scourge of creative devilry and melodic mesmerism twisted into a hypnotic and at times wonderfully demonic dance.
Passenger Peru comes from the creative minds and passions of Justin Stivers (vocals, guitar, bass, synth, drums, drum machines) and Justin Gonzales (vocals, guitar, synth, piano, samples), the former one time bassist with The Antlers for their Hospice album. The seeds for the Brooklyn based project are said to have started four years ago when the two musicians met and evolved into the Stivers led band Pet Ghost Project. A year in preparation, Passenger Peru is mouthwatering sonic scenery composed into something unique from essences of garage rock and shoegaze, psychedelic, alternative rock and more. With plenty of peaks and very minimal lows, if any at all, the lo-fi, hi-quality flight is raucous spellbinding pop brought in its most primal and beauteous magnificence.
The album immediately takes the listener to a scintillating pinnacle with its opening pair of songs, a height the album never quite emulates again though it thrills consistently trying. First song Your Hunger emerges from a cinematic melodic swoon and following studio doodling launches one of the most exciting and impressively tempting starts to a song heard in a long time. Guitar and bass instantly secure the fullest attention as they virtually gnaw on the ears with the latter offering an almost carnivorous tone to its dark enticement. With mutually attractive rhythmic teasing alongside, the rapacious sound conjured by the pair continue to coax and lure in the strongest lustful reaction and hunger, a post punk essence bringing thoughts of Joy Division and Gang Of Four to mind prowling the imagination whilst framing the excellent mellow and soothing vocals. It is delicious mix with sinister spirals of cold sound amid glorious flames of melodic tenderness colliding and uniting for a quite stunning provocation. Complete with an irresistible repetitious gait to bass and rhythms alongside a quite saucy groove which also hardly veers from its prime intent, the song sets the highest plateau for the album to keep up.
In the Absence of Snow steps up next to stroll that pedestal with ease, its opening acoustically sculpted guitar tantalising and the again snarling throaty bass tempting exceptionally addictive and successful in igniting even greater rapture in the imagination and emotions. Best described as the Jesus and Mary Chain meets House Of Love whilst the revelry of Ok Go! is at play, the bait laid down for the ears and emotions to partake in, is again virulently impossible to refuse or not find a greedy need for. Rock pop at its finest with a fiery solo and another spine of repetition kissed captivation, the track continues the album’s unassailable submission of the passions. With an impressive lyrical craft and insight also at work, which admittedly comes second best to the sound in attention taking over the first couple of plays, Passenger Peru at this point has already ignited an ardour which only a total car crash of a remaining body of songs could deflate.
Pollen Season takes no time in showing no such disaster is on the cards though as mentioned before, the album never treads the same lofty levels again. To put that into context though the following tracks prey on and build their own benchmark which most bands would swap their grannies for, the third song on the release a beguiling proposition of organic beauty around once more a bass treat you can only enthuse over with a tendency to drool, and a percussive enterprise which does not steal focus but would leave a major whole with its absence. Seriously magnetic, the song departs the now raging appetite for the album for the epidemically engaging pop absorptions of Tiger Lilly and Heavy Drugs to take over. The first of the two has a swagger and melodic grin which teases and charms but an equally solicitous sonic and rhythmic bruising to its latter swing whilst the second is a sultry summer breeze of radiant melodies within an increasingly dark and unsettling premise.
The second half of the album starts with Weak Numbers, again a track which ensnares thoughts and appreciation but marks a slightly less potent stretch for the album. The front five tracks leave the latter quintet in their shadow though once more in a context where Passenger Peru is on another realm with their artistry at the start of the album and a still immensely impressive level thereafter. A gentle and smouldering embrace, the song is a melancholic incitement with celestial elegance aligned to a tempestuous but contained emotive brawl. It is a transfixing companion immediately supported by the exotically imagined Memory Garden and the enthralling, intensive fascination of Health System, a song which merges heavy and light melodic and intimidating textures into a weave of emotion entangling beauty with XTC like alchemy.
The new single from the album Dirt Nap comes next, emerging with a slight Celtic lilt to its sonic beckoning before a predominately acoustic caressing ensues with a sense of The Wonder Stuff to its snare. Initially thoughts were not over excited by the song but over time it works its way under the skin to seduce though personally not the right choice as the single to lure people into the outstanding album, a record holding back another major treat for its closing offering. Life and Death of a Band is a rowdy and antagonistic romp but equally a ridiculously endearing and alluring temptress from a maelstrom of invention and creative intrigue and a quite brilliant finale to a breath-taking slab of pop excellence.
Passenger Peru will be massive at some point with all the evidence resting and burning away in their debut, a journey as unique and awe inspiring as their name hints at.
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