Album Review: Great Peacock – Gran Pavo Real

Anthemic acoustic guitar riffs mixed with contemplative finger-picked melodies. Lyrics spanning from reflective to whiskey-drunk. Dramatic vocal builds alongside gentle harmonies. Waves of folk crashing against shoals of rock and blues. Together, these traits define both the heart of Americana music as well as the soul of Great Peacock’s new album, Gran Pavo Real.

It may seem improbable how well these rising folk rockers feel the pulse of the Americana genre, yet trace their roots to an alcohol-fueled night of creativity among the band’s founding duo, singer/guitarist Andrew Nelson and fellow guitarist Blount Floyd.  Somehow the country-rock loving Nelson and the 90’s country-music-influenced Floyd hit on the idea, almost joking, of creating a folk band…with an animal in its name…thus creating the blurry vision that is now Great Peacock.  Perhaps the band’s unorthodox heritage is what allows Gran Pavo Real to stand out as its own sound in a musical landscape inundated with “authentic,” cookie cutter, offerings.

With Gran Pavo Real, the band has taken a remarkable step in the complexity of their lyrical songwriting. On “One Way Ticket,” Nelson muses about a restless spirit taking flight: “I’m a Rolling Stone/Yeah I can’t sit still/I’m a one-way ticket/heading straight downhill/ I’m a backroad Baptist with stories to tell/Got a one-way ticket to keep me out of hell.” On the album, whether pining, reflecting, or simply going on a bender, the lyrics have a poetic flow that allows them to impact with deeper meaning.

While the band’s dramatic, anticipation-charging musical builds and drops are still present on many of the songs, there are plenty of works that feature a tender intimacy that pair well with the album’s more emotional pieces. Where “Take Me Down” has all the scratchy guitar, moody organ, and rolling beat needed for a jamming, festival-ready, hazy head-nodder, “Oh Deep Water” contrasts with bright guitar accents, preaching organ, and contemplative mallet-struck drums. Where “Heartbreak Comin’ Down” features a toe-tapping, gritty, southern rock, touch of rockabilly flair, “Begging To Stay” is a lyrically sin-laden, hymn-vocal power ballad that conjures delightful images of Meatloaf making an Americana album. For an interlude, there is the lighthearted, honky-tonking, booze-dripping “Let’s Get Drunk Tonight,” which feels like a tribute to Floyd’s country music past, the band’s Nashville home, and a reminder not to take itself so seriously. While touching on abundant inspirations, the album’s tracks are bound by the band’s wide love for music.

Great Peacock allows its influences to expand the band’s sound beyond the formalistic traps of a folk identity, while still embracing enough heartfelt classic charm that even purists will embrace. Gran Pavo Real serves as a showcase of the band’s diverse style and the broad Americana landscape.

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[Click HERE to purchase Gran Pavo Real by Great Peacock.]

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