Fire Note Says: Brooklyn duo expands upon their excellent debut with an even better sophomore album!
Album Review: I have been sitting on this review for a few weeks, trying to figure out some hook to tie this whole thing together and then I had an epiphany. When an album as good as Light Places, the second album from Passenger Peru, comes along, you don’t overthink it. You enjoy it and let it take you on its own journey. My hook doesn’t matter, your hook matters, and I’m telling you, this duo has struck gold here, just go listen to it!
The Brooklyn duo has crafted one of the finest experimental pop records that I have heard in quite some time. I am a big fan of the work that Justin Stivers and Justin Gonzales did on their self-titled debut album from last year; in fact that was one of my sleeper records of the year. Having said that, Light Places is no sleeper album, this is an album that commands your attention from its opening moments and doesn’t let go until the final notes fade out. You might not be reading about them yet on some of the bigger indie websites, but that says more about those other websites than it does about this record.
I drew some comparisons to Animal Collective with the band’s debut album, but on Light Places I am hearing them chewing up the same turf as personal favorites Deerhunter, with some shades of classic (ie good) Modest Mouse. If you dig the experimentation of sound mixed with intoxicating pop music, Light Places is an album you need to hear. Album opener “House Squares” grabs you with its quirky beat and guitars, but what really slays you are the distorted vocals which sound both urgent and distant at the same time. It’s disorienting, yet familiar, sounding like nothing you have heard before yet somehow everything you have ever wanted to hear all at once. “Friends Don’t Call” almost feels like it fades in, building to bigger guitars and a great vocal hook, building tension in it’s dynamic as it goes, before exploding for its final minute. This one almost has a shoegaze feel to it, and is an absolute jaw dropper of the highest order.
I would also be remiss to not mention “The Best Way to Drown” and “Break My Neck”, perhaps the two songs that together, perfectly captures the sound on the record. “Drown” is the more ominous sounding of the two, chugging guitars and very psychedelic, while “Neck” has an almost spacey dreamlike quality to it. If you do nothing else, go get those two songs, and I would be willing to wager that you will be hooked like I was. This is the good stuff, don’t miss out on these guys, I’m telling you, they are a fantastic band, and Light Places is their best work yet!
Key Tracks: “Break My Neck” / “Best Way to Drown” / “House Squares”
Artists With Similar Fire: Deerhunter / Animal Collective / Modest Mouse
Passenger Peru Website
Passenger Peru Facebook
Fleeting Youth Records
– Reviewed by Kevin Poindexter