Peggy Sue Fossils and Other Phantoms Review

Album. Released 2010.  

BBC Review

Sleeve-worn emotions are expressed to the fore on this dense yet seductive debut.

Matthew Bennett 2010

Brighton babes Katy Klaw and Rosa Rex took the name of one of Buddy Holly’s most-famous songs and instantly unleashed ambiguity when they released their first record as Peggy Sue and the Pirates, before switching to Peggy Sue and the Pictures. Now they are just plain old Peggy Sue.

But there’s nothing bland about these two soul sisters. And there’s certainly no ambiguity obscuring their talents. They are coarsely original and ride the musical seas on their own wave of sold-out shows and tour supports for Kate Nash, Mumford & Sons and The Maccabees, making them queens of their own DIY empire.

Klaw and Rex have been tugging on our heartstrings now for four years and only now launch their debut album. It’s a record that allows them more space to pick apart their world with often just a weeping acoustic guitar, big stories and even bigger voices.

From their album opener Long Division Blues, a more violent and unpredictable tone has been adopted, in part due to the raw production values of Steve Ansell of Blood Red Shoes and Ben Lovett of Mumford & Sons. Now with regular drummer Olly Joyce, their songs have attained a more robust and linear feel that sees them bravely twist into choral flight where they might have previously faltered with endearing aplomb.

With such new vigour they swashbuckle their way through the murky waters of lost love, a craving for closure, and a melancholia distinct to the twilights hours of a relationship – throughout, these two song-writers connect as only best mates can.

Their charming toy box percussion has been replaced, perhaps at a cost, but the full percussive stride of Joyce serves mightily. Key track Watchman seethes on a brooding and tumultuous sonic path that’s a storm of cymbals soundtracking the ricochet of the girls from verse to verse, dispelling the lies of lovers and putting their realm to rites. 

Peggy Sue have firmly moved from kooky and wonky soul-smith-stresses to blazing a path through fully realised songs waging war with life. They wear their emotions on sleeves covered in the sweat of hard work and the tears of relationships strode in symbiotic step. Fossils… is a dense, yet seductive debut.

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