You know that friend who can turn lemons into lemonade without even trying? That person who can sometimes drive you nuts with their ability to cut through your crabby mood with a razor sharp sword of sunshine? Yeah, I'm usually the one in the crabby mood and then here comes Peter M. Stewart and his new album Pegras. I'm really tickled that I have the pleasure to review this album considering I am a notorious grump. While there is struggle and heartbreak depicted in this album, this is at its core, a feel good album, and I was into it.
Stewart has been around the block when it comes to the music industry. This album comes off as a memoir with him being at peace with the past. There's a little punk, a lot of alt rock, some fresh indie and even Americana touches all bundled together. He's got a great voice that complements the album's aesthetic. He is not afraid to rip his heart out of his chest, leave it beating on the table and then politely tell you how that happened. I appreciate that sometimes he gets into serious storytelling and still manages to find a positive attitude about it in a cheeky, ironic sort of way.
Pegras is downright campy, a little bit too much for me at times, but again, that's his way. He actually named track seven "I Feel Good." The grump in me hissed at it like "oh come on! How dare you!" However it's an awesome track full of full disclosures and I absolutely loved it. Another honorable mention would be "Working at Target" which is just so raw while at the same time catchy. I even appreciate his more bleeding heart, romantic side with songs like "Everyone Lives on a Message." Yeah, he has really turned me into such a sap.
Stewart has let music define his life. He has a slew of influences that mostly have counter culture leanings and interestingly enough we share very similar tastes. Often times, when musicians are guided so heavily by influences, they end up mirroring them a bit too much. This is a conundrum Stewart managed to completely avoid. He's doing his own thing and carving out his own path.
I was fighting this album with every fiber in my grumpy being and in the end, it won me over. I feel I should congratulate Stewart on this achievement, I'm sorry it doesn't come with a statue or prize money. This album is so professional and fully developed that I could see it having broad appeal and commercial success. I wouldn't mind flipping through the radio and hearing these tracks, I would say that's well-earned. I really struggle to pin down exactly what his demographic would be and I always consider that a good thing. I also could see this album being used in a variety of occasions. There is no limit to where I would want to hear these songs. This isn't one of those albums you'd have to hide from certain groups of friends. it's quality stuff. Give it a listen.
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