Review: Peggy Sue – Acrobats

Gritty gritty grit grit. I like you, Peggy Sue.
With a significant shift in mood and instrumentation from their first record Fossils and Other Phantoms, this second LP rains down electrics and discord. It feels clichéd to speak of maturity with every new album from a band, but it is joyous to listen to a record which smacks of musical growth and experimentation, the creation of which has been in no way hampered by fear of the unknown. Tempting as it must be to stick to a winning formula, the trio appear to have actively veered away from this. It works.
The songs hover cleverly on the border of dark and melancholic, without being creepy. It is often self-reflexive and flagellating; the lyrics are plagued with embittered “I wishes” and repentant “if onlys”. These are angsty numbers, but they’re also categorically catchy and well-written. The six-minute opener entitled Cut My Teeth is immediately striking in its sparse and confident intensity. Other highlights include Funeral Beat, for its beautiful, haunting vocal, and the final track There Always Was for some truly brilliant lyrics.


The uniting theme of these tracks is one of regret over the past and hope for change in the future. The change is largely self-improvement, or rather, a reaction to mistakes made in the past, and a determination to reform a set of recurring and often poor decisions about a certain someone. I wouldn’t like to be that certain someone. Peggy Sue clearly bloody hate them.
Peggy Sue have oft been grouped within the MumfordMarlingWhaleFolkFest09, but they deserve more than this. Their sound is perhaps inevitably closer to PJ Harvey (Acrobats was produced by John Parish of Let England Shake Mercury-award winning acclaim), or the product of a Laura Marling, Bjork and Anna Calvi fusion experiment. Intensity, anger, seriously powerful vocals, intelligent lyrics, carefully crafted songs – it’s got my vote.

Anna Byrne