In just about any other decade, Peach Pit would have been a very far cry from the quintessential cool kids. Best described as a quartet made up of wire-framed young people with hair that’s a little too long, clothes that feel dated, and downright awkward facial hair, these traits would have painted them into the archetype of geek whose lunch money is constantly being taken from them. In 2017, however, their purposely tired Screech meets Ned Flanders aesthetic is one that’s found its way onto the bodies of trendy teens across the globe. Their pastel color pallet parallels the seemingly calculated and cool vibe that oozes from the band; bright but muted colors are the perfect visual complement to the effortless and infectious, appropriately titled, brand of “chewed bubblegum pop” that Peach Pit is responsible for.
Being so Normal is the title of their debut album; a stark and proud declaration of a middle-American mindset. The idea of normalcy has grown to have such ugly connotations tied to it, so much so that we oft throw around the word “normies” to simultaneously categorize and ridicule the people outside of our immediate circle of interests. Not Peach Pit. Instead, the foursome chose to embrace the idea of normalcy the same way that a kite embraces the breeze; they cling to it until they find just the right pocket of air before eventually taking off into the stratosphere.
The first song from Being So Normal is a perfectly-paced piece of chill-pop called “Drop The Guillotine” and blends traditional pop melodies with lyrics like “You sure know how to drop that guillotine on me/Though you would never wanna see me bleed/I’ll just wipe off my neck then leave you in between/You sure know how to kill me.”
“Chewed bubblegum pop” is a phrase that really stayed with me while listening to the record. Even now, I just can’t shake what a phenomenal use of descriptive language this is — taking such a commonly used label and adding something to it by taking something out of it. Peach Pit’s brand of pop is sweet like watered down nectar, or, like chewed bubblegum; it’s sweet, but it’s not saccharine. Not to beat this band’s name to death, but it’s like biting into a plump peach; juicy and sweet, but not the kind of sweet that usually predates a sugar-induced coma.
Listeners don’t have to wait long before they get to sink their teeth into the record’s titular track. “Being so Normal,” the song starts off with a soulful strut right into those almost ~too cool to really care~ vocals, but things start to really pick up once those vocals trail off. This off-the-wall moment of pure jam-band bliss overcomes the latter half of the track — leaving you to drown in the fuzz and funk that make up the backbone of this band. All of this build-up throws you into “Techno Show,” which is the kind of fire-born gem that packs enough pop to catch the ear of a casual listener without sounding like Top 40’s newest regurgitated collection of buzzwords and synth.
This is the kind of track that really sees Peach Pit shine musically. Similar to “Drop That Guillotine,” there’s enough of a pop sensibility that ensures you won’t stop the song once it starts. You get all of the sweet melodies that make you crave pop music and none of the worked to the brink of exhaustion lyrical tropes that are constantly coming at you from pop-star after pop star, on radio-station after radio station. It’s indie-pop you can shamelessly listen to without headphones.
On the off moments where Peach Pit ever-so-slightly strays from their carefully crafted lane of indie-pop, things start to feel like a fever dream. The closest thing to a barn-burner Being so Normal has to offer comes from the subdued chaos of the track “Not Me.” The almost totally distortion-free guitar that kicks the song off is played so haphazardly that instills a feeling of panic and confusion before anything else picks up. The distortion kicks in, and things get even more hectic, but in a way that seems to serve the plot. This idea is further driven home by the chorus of the song, which comes packed with lyrics like “She’s always rockin’ a smile/Haven’t seen mine in a while/Always so happy to be/But not me.”
The album closes with a sprawling six-minute long song called “Tommy’s Party” that serves as a reminder of both the youth that courses through the veins of this band and the true, unadulterated talent that this band possesses. Using the party to set the scene, the track tells the tale of a friendship dissolved as one party pursues a romantic connection. Each chorus starts with “Hey there bud” before bringing us to a different stage of friendship withered, eventually leading us to the heart-wrenching lyrical finale of the record, “I was thinking back just the other day/Remember when we used to sneak out late to go and blaze/Seemed like loneliness was all we’d ever do/But now she’s knowing you, just like I used to.”
If you’re looking for the kind of relaxed pop music with heart-wrenching undertones that will make you wanna dance while you cry, you’re not going to want to sleep on Peach Pit. It’s only a matter of time before this is one of the biggest indie bands around. Being so Normal was released on September 18th via Kingfisher Bluez. Be sure to purchase your copy of the record here.