Vancouver natives Peach Pit bring surf-rock indie pop sounds to their sophomore album, You and Your Friends.
The newest album comes three years after the success of their debut record, Being So Normal. The 12-track release was produced by John Congleton (who’s worked with household indie bands, St. Vincent and Best Coast) to streamline the band’s “chewed bubblegum pop” sound with relatable lyrics about mundane situations. “You and Your Friends is a collection of songs about me, people that the band and I care about, and some of the old friends we’ve had over the years,” the band said in a statement. Like most sophomore albums, the band discusses falling in love, nostalgia, breakups, but this time with satirical lyrics and metaphors accompanied by soft vocals.
The quartet — consisting of Neil Smith, Chris Vanderkooy, Peter Wilton, and Mikey Pascuzzi — look like quirky, alternative guys who are clearly from the Pacific Northwest. The four-piece is most often found dressed up in uniforms consisting of dungarees, turtlenecks, or beanies, with moustaches and long, messy hair. If you passed them on the street, you wouldn’t guess the band had nearly two million monthly streams on Spotify, but the guys don’t take themselves too seriously. They sell deodorant merchandise and joke about being flat Earth-ers. Their Instagram (with a bio claiming they’re a wedding cover band) is full of memes of themselves and gives a DIY-vibe. But their normality is why they’re successful. It’s refreshing and helps them make relative, chill indie-pop music.
The lyrics “I want something always, more or less than what I have / Could be nothing, but I’ll go in luck to be had,” opens the long-awaited album in the pre-released single, ‘Feelin’ Low (F*ckboy Blues)’, which basically sums up everyone’s mood at the moment. It’s very Circa Waves-meets-Beach Fossils, with strong guitar riffs but a more gritty, grungy bassline. It gives listeners a taste of the band’s more refined sound, moving from indie-pop jams to more alternative-rock songs.
‘Black Licorice’ belongs on a “summer bummer” playlist, with upbeat, groovy sounds accompanying lyrics about being lonely after a breakup. “I’m just black licorice / And all the people that I know / Would rather leave me in the bowl,” Smith sings in the heartbreak bop. It’s a simple metaphor, but effective and catchy.
After ‘Figure 8,’ a slow, slightly angsty pop ballad, the album moves away from full-on heartbreak and loneliness and transitions to ‘Puppy Grin,’ a song all about questioning feelings in a relationship. Filled with psychedelic-esque guitar riffs and quick drum beats, it’s dance-y and will definitely be a crowd favourite to sing along to when the band performs it live.
The curtains open and the sun begins to shine with ‘Brians Movie,’ a feel-good track with warm vocals and soft drums with a slick bassline that sounds like it’s influenced by Bane’s World. It smoothly transitions into two back-to-back songs about past loves, ‘Camilla I’m At Home,’ a laid back and relaxing tune with woozy guitar and soothing vocals, and ‘Second Life With Emily,’ slightly more cheery and optimistic track that recalls found times in a previous relationship.
The album moves back to another heartbreak tune, ‘Shampoo Bottles.’ The song tells a story about an ex leaving her stuff at Smith’s apartment, and how when he used up the shampoo bottle to try to get her out of his head, but it didn’t work. “I’ve been leaving your shampoo bottles / Over in the corner there /Sitting empty on the bathtub rail / Wishing they could wash your hair,” Smith sings nostalgically on the track. It’s something everyone can relate to post-breakup, with as he recalls being paranoid about running into his ex around town. It’s a slow burn, but one of the best songs on the album.
‘Thursday’ is more synth-rock than the other tracks, with a moody, grungy undertone. It starts slowly, before switching to fast drums and guitar shreds, while ‘Your Teeth’ is slightly eery and angsty, with confusing and peculiar lyrics.
The album finishes with the title track, a crooning alt-rock tune with punk undertones. The song is a bit of a letdown and feels slightly out of place on the album. There’s a long guitar solo and emotive lyrics that informs the listener that this is the finale, as the story comes to an end.
You and Your Friends is a good album with some strong and catchy tunes, but there’s nothing distinct about it. Peach Pit is the latest victim to the sophomore album curse, as when I listened to it, I wish it had more of the feeling of their EP and first album. Their sound has evolved and is more fine-tuned, but some songs and lyrics were repetitive. What was missing the bluesy crooners like “Tommy’s Party” and the woozy harmonies from their self-titled viral hit, “Peach Pit.” A few of the songs from the album are bound to gain some notoriety, but as a whole, the release was a slight let down, with a stronger first half. It’s still worth a listen, but the moody and angsty undertones felt out of place for their typical “chewed bubblegum pop” sound.
You And Your Friends is released this Friday, 3rd April, via RCA Records