An electric and enthralling second LP from the Brighton-based indie-folk-rockers.
Jen Long 2011-09-12
When a band reaches their second album, words like ‘maturity’ and ‘development’ are typically expected to make appearances in any review. Of course, they’re not always deserved – and, often, they can signal a shift in style to the detriment of the act’s chances. But in the case of Acrobats, the follow-up to 2010’s Fossils and Other Phantoms debut, Peggy Sue have more than ensured that progress has produced a more than worthy end product.
A significant step onwards from their acoustic debut, Acrobats finds the trio developing a taste for the electric, which adds miles to their creative horizons. While this is the first and most easily recognisable change to their sound, there is also a subtle difference apparent in the writing: Acrobats has the feel of an album made by a band, with drummer Olly’s contributions now weaved into the record as opposed to resting as a backbone; and throughout, Rosa and Katy’s vocals are intertwined, harmonising into one voice.
Opening in a dark mist of Duke Spirit-styled guitars, Cut My Teeth is strong introduction to a record that’s as open and honest as it is deeply shy and brooding. Lyrics like, "When will you learn you will never be first" (Song & Dance) and, "What you thought was gold was only flesh and bone / So flesh and bone is all you’ll own" (There Always Was) are so striking and evocative it’s hard to believe they’ve been crafted by musicians still in their 20s.
Produced by John Parish, there are (perhaps inevitably) moments that recall the work of Polly Jean Harvey – but the parallels always feels innocent rather than acts of pastiche. While it’s clear Peggy Sue are fans, of Polly and many more powerful artists in their own collections, on Acrobats they’ve taken said influences and moulded them into a very individual story.
This is a record that withstands listen after listen, each element holding its own against the other. Peggy Sue have not only created an appetite for what lies next, they’ve cemented themselves as a group deserving the same accolades as those far beyond their years.