Peaer — A Healthy Earth (Aug. 16, 2019) Pamela MÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃéndez ÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃâ Time (22 Feb 2019)•⊆⊇•      Listening to Peaer is like watching someone swiftly solve a complicated math equation with grace. Each moment is executed with precision, care, and a chessmaster’s foresight for how it will serve a later part of the arrangement. Every note, and every space between the notes, is priceless to the composition of the song. For a band comprised of two studio engineers and a guitar teacher, their music is naturally methodical — but not at all rigid or inaccessibly convoluted. Their new album A Healthy Earth (out 8/16 via Tiny Engines) is profoundly introspective, genuine, and colorful. A sensational balance between meticulous sonic construction and self~analytical lyrics that open up into thought~provoking social commentary.
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Album release: August 16, 2019
Record Label: Tiny Engines
Duration:     38:52
01. Circle   2:10
02. Ollie   2:01
03. Like You   4:56
04. Commercial   3:53
05. Don’t   3:53
06. Multiverse   3:21
07. Joke   4:20
08. In My Belly   3:03
09. I.K.W.Y.T.   4:17
10. Wilbur   2:22
11. Have Fun!   4:36
First Pressing (Vinyl):
•   250 Translucent Green & Opaque Blue Split (mailorder exclusive)
•   350 Clear w/ Black & White Smoke
•   400 Translucent Orange
by Ian Cohen, AUGUST 23 2019; Score: 8.0
•∈∋•      The slowcore band’s knotty and fascinating third LP delves into the question of what makes daily life so unnecessarily difficult.
•⊆⊇•     On “Commercial,” the centerpiece of Peaer’s third LP, a man has a nervous breakdown while waiting in line. Lead singer Peter Katz’s voice is barely audible, but the simmering tension should be familiar to anyone at the mercy of bureaucracy, stuck in a queue and waiting for someone to recognize their plight. “I saw your commercial in the lobby,” Katz murmurs before his voice rises to a dramatic quaver that wouldn’t sound out of place on OK Computer — “Why does everything want to kill me in a million different tiny ways?” It’s not a rhetorical question. On A Healthy Earth, he devotes himself to unpacking what makes daily life so unnecessarily difficult.
•⊆⊇•     Katz recognizes that “everything” trying to kill him is a man~made problem in some way — the rising seas, the blazing sun, even his shampoo: “I saw your commercial and now I’m scared/I use that product every day in my hair/I just didn’t know what it would do to me/I even gave it to my family.” But mostly, he wrestles with the everyday suffering we subject ourselves to while trying to connect with other humans. On “In My Belly,” he wonders whether love is just another quantifiable metric that can be life~hacked, and whether it can be intellectualized at all. On“I.K.W.Y.T.,” he examines all the tortuous ways we hold back on our instincts (“Clenching my fist so I don’t cum too quick in my undies/Holding my tongue to ensure I don’t do any speaking”) and by the closing “Have Fun!,” he’s virtually given up on the idea of healthy and fulfilling monogamous relationships.
•⊆⊇•     It’s no wonder that the most convincing love songs on A Healthy Earth fall outside the realm of reality. One man writes a love song to his car; another body~swaps with his dog so he can write a love song to himself. On “Multiverse,” Katz assumes a humanoid vocal to imagine Mother Earth on a self~care kick. These imaginative flights offer welcome moments of respite, but Katz quickly brings them back down to Earth; the alternate reality he envisions on “Multiverse” is simply one where he never becomes a musician and can afford to buy a new car.
•⊆⊇•     Every song on A Healthy Earth could function as an essay prompt, and like a good issue of The New Yorker or The Baffler, these divergent intellectual exercises are bound by a general thematic and philosophical coherence: If Katz ever decided to go deeper, A Healthy Earth would probably make a great podcast series. That said, it’s still a rock record, one that works within subgenres of indie rock that frequently deny themselves visceral pleasures — slowcore, math~y DC post~punk.
•⊆⊇•     Peaer are now a tour~tested three~piece that have somehow gotten tighter and looser, the way bands do when it’s clear that they enjoy each other’s company. Katz’s guitar figures and vocals take counterintuitive steps towards dissonant note clusters before righting themselves into delightful sing~song melodies, replicating the effect of those bizarre ice creams that have sriracha or mustard in them. Two members of Peaer make their living as recording engineers, and if A Healthy Earth is any indication, they’ve been studying Steve Albini’s every mic placement with monastic intensity. Earth has such an extreme dynamic range that it sounds almost wrong compared to others in its realm. During the times when the album is quiet, it’s as unnerving and tense as anything on the Midsommar soundtrack. When it eventually gets loud — and Peaer rock more convincingly and nastily than just about any band lumped into slowcore — its lean arrangements hit with more unexpected force than any post~rock or metal crescendo. This is the kind of visceral wish fulfillment Peaer specialize in on A Healthy Earth — it acknowledges how much of our lives are spent waiting in line to manage our agony when just giving it a voice might be the only way to get relief.
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