A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
Indie labels release new albums by unknown singer-songwriters on a daily basis. The low cost of recording and issuing CDs has also inspired a number of artists to release their own albums. While it is encouraging that literally anyone can begin a career without cutting a deal with a record label, it becomes difficult for critics and reviewers to keep up with the latest "up-and-coming" artist. Fortunately though, the hype occasionally turns out to be true. |
Real Day" the debut album from singer-songwriter Alice Peacock turns out to be the real thing. She confidently performs 11 intelligent songs that are introspective without being self-absorbed, aware without being self-serving. I'll Be the One finds the singer asserting her independence from a lover who fails to recognize that she has grown and changed. My Love I Will is an honest-to-god love song with careful observations like, "You've got a light that surrounds you/A peaceful way about you/Takes the fear out of the night." It is reassuring that not all relationships fall to pieces in Alice Peacock's world. Even when she expresses anger at a lover on I Hear You Say, it has more to do with asserting ones autonomy than putting someone else down.
The material is made even more effective by the catchy melodies and superb production. The arrangements can be sparse, as on the beautiful title cut that features acoustic guitar supported by tasteful piano and light percussion. In Secret Love, Peacock accompanies herself on piano, perfectly sustaining the quiet, intimate nature of the song. Other songs receive a fuller treatment. The first cut, I Hear You Say, features electric guitar and pedal steel, giving it a country-folk feel, while Get Your Own rocks a little harder. The refrains and hooks of songs like I'll Be the One and Something Else keep the listener tuned in and alert.
When all of these components-good lyrics, smart arrangements, and bright melodies-are combined with Peacock's warm voice, the listener is left with a disc that's easy to leave in the CD player. Complaints? Only that the listener cannot go out and purchase more Alice Peacock albums because this is the only one. It is a great first album, and a testimony that good things can come from the "do-it-yourself" approach to recording. Positive reviews have also helped the album find a national distributor, hopefully making it easier to find. Peacock is confidently working the same ground as singer-songwriters from Joni Mitchell to Dar Williams, making Real Day a welcome release for lovers of well-produced and well-written folk.