BEYERS DE VOS
When you imagine Peachy Keen, they are standing in an Old West saloon, glasses of whiskey in hand, twirling their skirts and swinging to the sound of their 1950s-inspired rock, calling up the ghost of Johnny Cash.
Fronted by sexy vocal duo Dominique Otto and Alexia Wise and backed by Greg Abrahams on guitar, Ryan McArthur on base and Brandon Shore on drums, their debut LP Backseat Bingo is a refreshing and welcome entry into the current South African pop-rock-blues scene.
The strongest song on the album, “I shot a man down”, exemplifies the talented Cape Town-based outfit beautifully. Lyrics such as “I shot a man down, shot him down dead, took out his ’45 and shot him in the head”, that speak of cowboys, revenge, old guitars and the southern blues, are present throughout a collection of songs in which it is difficult to find a weak link.
They are fun and catchy and possess a sound that is both cheekily vintage and unique: something the current South African music scene is definitely missing. Their cover of “Oh, darling” is a highlight and their crooning, country edge comes through strongly on this number. Here the upbeat tempo, tempered with lyrics of desperation and longing, mixed with vocals that move from a whiskey-growl to the higher range with ease and emotion (Adele-style), is at its most powerful.
Perhaps a little too dependent on a dated country sound which has traditionally not found much love with South African audiences, the band should invest in ways to contemporise their music without losing any of their core influences which make them so remarkable. There is a danger that the novelty will wear off – the suspicion is that it would be difficult to tell some of the songs apart without the album cover in front of you. Still, for now they have managed to capture the imagination of festival-goers throughout the country. Their sound won’t find wide-spread appeal any time soon but if you want something new, vibrant and oozing with country-rock-Elvis-Presley-cool, give them a listen.
See Peachy Keen perform at Oppikoppi Sweet Thing on Saturday 11 August at 12:00 on the James Phillips Stage.
See the “I shot a man down” music video below or on your smartphone via the ilincc app: Perdeby7414c.