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Album Review: Peter Wolf Crier – Inter-be

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It’s hard for me to wrap my head around the idea that most of the popular independent bands have been around and releasing albums for as long as they have and also have forged a genre themselves that is prevalent throughout the “indie” scene. The lo-fi style of most independent bands is one of necessity more often than not. Is it lack of expensive equipment? Easier way to hide recording mishaps? Or is it just a gruff exterior that makes it seem cool? Seem like they have beards and flannel and cut-off shorts?

The debut album, Inter-be, from the Minnesota duo, and new Jagjaguar darlings, Peter Wolf Crier is a lo-fi folk affair that had it been released 5-8 years earlier would be fantastic and new. However, for me, this album feels like I’ve heard it all before. It seems to have hints of Broken Social Scene, Devendra Banhart, M. Ward and any other independent lo-fi band that has come around recently, and the more I listened to it the less things stood out and the more it all sounded the same.

Overall the album has a vintage feel like they recorded it on old equipment in an old dusty house. The song structures contain a vintage feel also, but more of a 2003 vintage rather than 1950s or 1960s vintage. The back half of the album suffers most where there aren’t many songs that stuck out to me as noteworthy. I had the album on repeat for most of the afternoon, and everything sort of seemed to blend together, and I found myself becoming almost bored with hearing it. Lead singer Peter Pisano’s voice easily blended with the guitar tones and the reverb to just make a crackly sort of white noise in my brain especially in songs like “Demo 01” and “You’re so High”.

There are definitely highlights to the album that make it somewhat worthwhile. The first three or four songs are pretty strong and catchy. Album opener “Crutch and Crane” is my favorite song on the album with its Feist-like vocal and guitar pattern and catchy lyrics “Where’s our smile? Where’s our grace? Where’s the one we replace?” Pisano uses a shaky falsetto that does fit the music very well, and drummer Brian Moen does a wonderful job of creating background that isn’t overpowering or overly complicated. Another highlight is “Untitled 101”. The rolling drums and great middle piano solo give it a great evening feel that I can definitely get behind.

I wanted to like this album more than I did because I usually love most things Jagjaguar related, and I’ve heard great things about Peter Wolf Crier’s live shows, but this album just didn’t deliver for me how I thought it would. You all may enjoy it more than I did if you like this wave of bands like I mentioned earlier, but overall I am mostly over it because it all sounds the same and I have trouble distinguishing band to band. I get that certain acts have a style and they stick to it, but there has to be some variation at the very least. On Inter-be I didn’t find much of it.

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