The 2010s were a great time for eclectic music across the board, and few know that quite as well as British indie artist Gallery 47, a.k.a. Jack Peachey, whose songs spanning from “Smoking Isn’t Cool” to “Duck Footprints” and “Lefty” have been raising more than an eyebrow or two in some pretty impressive circles since 2010’s 11th October Routine EP first dropped. Now in 2020, Gallery 47 is back in action with some of his most colorful material yet in the Gary Judd-featured East Street, which is set to debut this March alongside its first single, the enrapturing “I Wish I Was.” In East Street, Peachey gets back to basics in a big way while steering his music’s sound deeper down the minimalist trajectory with results that are undeniably worth writing home about this season.
East Street’s “Embers,” “All Incredible,” “Calm,” “Don’t Give Up” and “Soda,” which is a B-side on the “I Wish I Was” single, are each arranged to be deceptively simple on the surface, but upon even the most cursory of closer inspections on each of these tracks, it becomes abundantly clear even to the most innate of critics that there’s a lot more to the music here than just chords, subtle harmonies and a light melodicism tethering one composition to the next. Jack Peachey has made a career out of being unpredictable in the studio, and in structuring the content on East Street to pull us closer with each percussive pulsation (often countered with an anti-virtuosic verse, mind you), he made an indie record that is as progressive as it is unconventionally cut and dry.
If “I Wish I Was” is Gallery 47’s version of an original Velvet Underground song, it might just be the best and shapeliest hero worship that I’ve had the great pleasure of reviewing in the year 2020 so far, but I don’t believe that I would necessarily describe its stylization as being steeped in throwback culture. There’s certainly nothing toxic about paying homage to the bittersweet sonic oasis that Lou Reed and company were famous for turning out even in their most inaccessible of offerings – and I think it’s safe for us to say that there’s a bit of this going on in “Don’t Give Up,” the instrumental “Dulcimer” and “Faith Discarded,” as well – but there’s just too much originality in the bones of this track, and really every song here, for me to regard any element of it as being inorganic from top to bottom.
Even though he’s nine albums deep into his career as Gallery 47, Jack Peachey’s future has never sounded as bright as it does right now, and in particular when listening to the music that he’s provided us with (in collaboration with percussionist Gary Judd, of course) in East Street. Despite its misleading name, East Street is the antithesis of relaxed songwriting on display; in all ten of its tenaciously cutting compositions, we get to know yet another layer of the artist that has become Gallery 47, which is something that I haven’t been able to say about a lot of veterans’ records this year.
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