Resilient – How To Peach – Album Review
Not too many albums out there that I’ve been looking forward to as much as How To Peach by Resilient – this crew from Philly absolutely brought indie-alternative alive on their debut record Imagining Things last year and after hearing the lead-single “Slack” in advance of their new album coming out – I knew that all those massive expectations, hopes and dreams I’ve had for the music of this band were justified. Imagining Things hinted at so much unlimited potential in Resilient…much more so than I hear in most bands in the anything-rock genres…and I suspected it would just be a matter of time for this band to refine its sound to exactly where they want it to be. How To Peach shows they’ve not only grown, they’ve expanded the sound in every direction from the ambitions in their writing to the production and clarity in their ferocious & gritty, alternative style. This is that evolution you’re looking for from record-to-record…Resilient is killing it on How To Peach, sounding bigger, bolder and better than ever before.
I’ve listened to this record a ton over the past week…and I’ll be damned if I haven’t completely enjoyed myself each and every time. I’m PROUD of this crew…not sure if it was the slight switch in the lineup from Buckminster to Lennon Cantwell (Lead Guitar/Backing Vocals) between albums or the band just naturally evolving to that next level…but I think even I figured it might take them another record or two to get as good as they’ve already become and sound on this new record. The rest of the Resilient crew is still intact, Alicia Dickerson killin’ it on the bass, Katie Fox storming on the drums and Erin Fox leading the way with her supercharged guitars & powerfully dynamic, melodically shape-shifting vocals. What I loved SO MUCH about How To Peach was just how much this record seems like the perfect progression to their own evolution and that solid next step revealing the confidence of a band that truly believes in the music they make. You can look at Resilient like you would one of the Ghostbusters trying to get a handle on that particle beam from their proton-packs at first…almost too powerful to contain and wildly thrashing in every direction as they searched for the ultimate approach to their own sound. They’ve got a firm grip on the power now…you can hear that in this second record and the maturity in the writing; they were undoubtedly great before…but like we always hope for in our art and in our music – our current work should likely be our best work every time – and Resilient are bringing out their best here once again on How To Peach in a blazing set of artistic & alternative rock tunes that hit the mark, 100%.
A quick scream and a flash of grinding guitars, Resilient cuts to the chase quickly on “Crickets,” the album’s opening tune immediately snags hold of you and the record ain’t gonna let go of you from here. Erin sounds brilliant in the vocal-flow and melody, sounding confident & cool right from the drop; you can immediately tell that the band has stepped their game up from the first impression that “Crickets” creates. LISTEN to the structure and the execution…LISTEN to the way that Resilient plans each precision movement in their music and how strong they’re delivering it all here. You always wanna come back strong after being away for a while and Resilient is sounding massive & electrifying right off the bat on this new record of theirs. In all honesty…they’ve kind of got a whole 4 Non Blondes-type madness going on for them here…however you want to describe it, “Crickets” already has Resilient sounding at their best and this first cut will hold up as one of the strongest on a record full of great tunes to follow. I don’t know how many of these aces were held up their sleeves while recording their debut album Imagining Things…but the band sounds completely fresh and fully revitalized on their opening track – exactly the kind of strength in a comeback we’re always hoping to hear.
“Ceiling” could just as well apply to the part of her vocal-register that Erin is working with throughout the verse of this second-tune…you can hear that’s as high-up as her voice will carry her and that this wouldn’t be the easiest song to sing. That being said, I felt like she pulled it off well and lets the character in her voice come out in both verse & chorus with different attitudes, tones & styles. Dig the final transition of this cut to its more energetic ending…but I also dig the ideas they’ve got throughout this entire song; it’s a real melting-pot of a tune in the sense that you’re probably apt to like one part or another as your favorite part of the song, but as a full-on experience, it’s pretty wild and very ambitious. Blending a gentle indie-folk-pop sound and threading in the darkness slowly and steadily…Resilient plays expertly with timing and pace, delivery and execution as they maximize the sound in each dimension the song reveals. They combine the light & the dark on “Ceiling” insightfully well…I love the way they let this tune drop out completely only to come back in time & again, sometimes revealing melody, sometimes ready to scorch the earth. The song continues to build its tension and pace right up to the end, just ripping it by its final moments before breaking way to Erin’s vocals fading out and a quick flash of guitars before it’s over.
I like to think that I’ve been doing what I do long enough to generally have a good feeling a song based on titles alone sometimes…I felt like I knew I was going to love “I Broke It As Soon As I Got It” before I even heard it. Solid bass in this tune from Alicia…she’s definitely got the song finding the depths of its low-end punch and giving “I Broke It As Soon As I Got It” the vibrant backbone for the rest to spring-off from. Drums from Katie come out as kickass as ever…Erin works the alternative-grunge attitude in her approach to the melody and tone of her voice like pure magic…the guitars complement the melody perfectly and the song’s ending is riotously rad – the entire track grips & rips – loved this cut. I think Erin’s in full-control on a track like this and she’s sounding fantastic; look at the structure of the lyrics and you’ll see she’s got really clever lines working together, yet not overcomplicating how many words are in the melody, giving her plenty of additional time to really sing this stuff out. As a result, the amount of character & charisma in her vocals increases, as does the enjoyment in listening to her. And breakdowns? YES PLEASE – “I Broke It As Soon As I Got It” has one of the raddest ones on the record. If I’m being entirely honest here…I’m probably more in love with the verse on this tune than any other element as it just comes out sounding so damn smooth…but…BUT…that hypnotic groove they slip into during the chorus really does deserve equal credit. Instrumentation, imagination, execution – it’s all here…”I Broke It As Soon As I Got It” is one of the most intense and well-assembled cuts on the album.
Now…I’m not accusing Resilient of getting political for a moment…but they DO come from the United States…and what coming from that country right now in any way, shape or form hasn’t been touched by the current politics? On the bright side…the current administration is making art stronger and bolder than it’s been in many, many years…and if my assumptions are correct, “From An Eruption” could reveal the Philly-based band’s perspective about what life is like nowadays. There’s a few tunes on this record that gave me that feeling…mind you, I’ve been keeping an eye out for how politics have been creeping into music as of late, so I’m probably just paranoid. Have a read through the lyrics…Erin’s a crafty cat…she knows how to write her words in just the right way to have us guessing, developing and attaching our own theories to what she says…it’s hard to ever know for sure – but that’s also part of the appeal. Great use of melody, stunning transitions and bold, decisive movement in the music, fueled by Katie’s thunderously booming hits from the throne and the wicked licks from the guitars. Particularly in the solo of “From An Eruption” – you’ve gotta love that tone and insane amount of expression…that’s golden right there, that’s what that is.
“Medication” is another real highlight for Alicia’s bass – lady-friend is killin’ it on this album for reals. There’s a TON to love about this cut from its concept to execution…Resilient take you on a trip with heavy doses of rhythm and groove before they declare all-out war on their instruments in one of the wildest breakdowns you’ll hear this year…and the way they just SLIDE right back into the main groove of “Medication” is like, grab your freakin’ popcorn worthy…it’s just UNREAL to listen to that transition happen so smoothly, so flawlessly. It’s moments like that that show just how far this band has come already in such a short time…Resilient is clearly outworking the rest and putting everything they’ve got into every moment…my ears are appreciating the effort. Another real highlight for Erin’s vocals – she sounds like she’s got every second of the movements she makes on “Medication” mapped-out to the nth-degree and delivers a confident, flawless and unique performance on the mic. You know…that Linda Perry comparison really isn’t too far off the mark…4 Non Blondes packed it in altogether way too early – but they’re beloved by so many still to this day…a band like Resilient could really fill the hole they left behind and still add their own sound into the overall style & attitude of the music. After reading out the cautionary warning on “Medication,” the band completely freaks out and loses it like they downed the whole bottle of whatever was in granny’s medicine cabinet and let the feeling consume them. You’ll be impressed at just how much control Resilient exercises even in their wildest moments…and again, that slick & sly transition back into the subtle & innocent charm of “Medication” at the end is absolutely brilliant…just…freakin’…brilliant.
I’ve said it time and again to anyone willing to listen to me – Resilient writes a fucking killer tune. Anyone that’s in doubt needs listen no further than “Comin Yer Way.” If this song had a physical form it would be punching you repeatedly in the gut like an old Mike Tyson fight. Some really amazing lyricism from Erin once again on this tune – and man is the music of this cut INTENSE…this song absolutely screams ‘PLAY ME’ in a live setting; I’ve got no doubt that this would be a serious highlight in the set. Of all the songs on the new album, I felt like “Comin Yer Way” was the closest to the band we first heard on Imagining Things just a year back. Production is better now mind you…confidence is up…music is all sounding bolder…but something about that magic created in the chorus of “Comin Yer Way” really reminded me of just how much I loved that first record and how much they’ve grown that sound into the behemoth it has become. “Comin Yer Way” is sickly powerful…Katie sounds beastly back there on the kit…the song’s got an unreal classic-rock edge laced into its psychedelic-alternative groove…wilder-than-wild guitar solos and an enduring energy that continues to pillage from beginning to end.
“The Duchess Act” – ALICIA…my friend…you are absolutely making the difference on many of these tunes this time around on How To Peach and I salute you. Her presence has been well-established throughout this entire album, perhaps none better so than on the deadly movements of “The Duchess Act.” A real highlight for the whole band…Erin’s vocals are wildly imaginative & expressive, powerful and melodic as they soar into the music of this cut…Katie stops & starts with bold & precise hits and Lennon Cantwell fills in the atmosphere with really smart additions from the guitars with haunting tones. Again…check out Erin’s lyrical structure on “The Duchess Act” – I’m not trying to give away all her secrets, but notice that she really gives herself the space to perform, not just sing…that’s a lot of what makes the difference in what we hear and gives these songs an incredible texture overtop of the music. Resilient plays the loud/quiet card brilliantly here – this whole band can turn on a dime and choose to light it up at any moment and they prove that time & again as they rip into the more aggressive dimension of their sound in the split-personality driving “The Duchess Act.” Tons of depth and dimension to the dark rhythm & melody that haunts the bones of this tune…it’s sleek, it’s sexy, it’s compelling and inviting but also sounds menacing as it begins and plays on…then in the song’s middle you get that payoff of energy that rewards your paranoia. You knew that explosion was coming somewhere in this song…just didn’t know when; as Resilient slinks back into the shadows before ripping apart what’s left in the frantic tension of the song’s ending…they keep everything sounding amazingly bold and powerful from the music to the vocals and captivate to the very last seconds of “The Duchess Act.”
Honestly, the quality of How To Peach from writing to performance just makes me completely smile. And like…when you’re listening to the lyrics really closely, say like, on a track like “Green” – that smile is kind of an awkward one…like, if I wasn’t so happy for the band and the way this song has come out what would remain on my face would more closely reflect the grim confusion that Erin sings about on this tune. She’s written a smart song here and puts some of her most insightful lyrics on display…the sound/style of “Green” leans more closely on the pop-side of alternative than perhaps we’ve heard from Resilient before – and it’s yet another incredible gear they slide right into, sounding like they were born to be there. Almost hitting Mazzy Star terrain in the verse here…certainly no problem with that here. For what sounds like a simpler pop-inspired alternative melody, the structure and ambition of Resilient’s music always offers much more – “Green” proves that; while the inviting sound of the song beckons you to listen, the parts in the music & vocals weave, intersect and connect perfectly along the way. A track like “Green” shows that Resilient as a band is anything BUT “Green” anymore…it takes a crafted songwriting effort and talented band to bring a song like this so beautifully to life. At the end of the day…you can put a positive spin on the words and call this one a cautionary tale…there’s some lessons that can be learned through the lyrics of this track that people could definitely benefit from taking in.
I’ll admit something to you all here. When I first received the link to How To Peach and saw that the lead-single was buried all the way at the back of the record as song number NINE…I had a moment…a very BRIEF moment of panic before I remembered that it was Resilient I was about to listen to. WHAT ME WORRY? Typically speaking…when the lead-single is all the way towards the end of an album…it’s either an indication of nothing strong enough up front and saving what fireworks there are for the end…OR…you’re in for a really kickass album that’s basically got a justifiable argument for any of the songs being able to be the lead-single. Go ahead…you can check out your own albums and verify…you know I speak the truth. Thankfully, How To Peach, is the latter of the situations…any of these tunes packs a sharp hook or obvious reason as to why it could be put out there as a single…BUT…thumbs-up to “Slack” – it really might just have that slight edge to make that difference and be the number one choice. The kick-in for the guitars on “Slack” just ravages the song perfectly and grips us as listeners…Katie’s drums fit so immaculately well on this tune it’s metronomic-perfection…Erin sounds absolutely deadly like she could just as easily kiss or kill you…and our good ol’ hero in Alicia makes sure to keep the recipe of the music bold, thick and rich through the storming-yet-subtle bass-lines. Love the additional backing vocals that come in before the song makes its final explosion, that’s a great inclusion; the explosion itself is all-out AMAZING and very like, Queens Of The Stone Age Songs For The Deaf type-damn-good…all out chaos in sound, enveloping as they embrace it before it breaks back into the smoothness from whence they came. An absolutely deadly song for Erin’s vocal-flow and how she sings this song…time after time she brings something amazingly unique to the microphone in terms of an anti-typical melody we’ve truly never heard before. It’s insightful approaches like this that are going to get Resilient the dedicated fan-base they deserve…I mean, I’m assuming the one they have already is completely kickass…so really I’m saying exactly like that, only bigger. Tremendous song and ultimately a smart, smart choice as the single…”Slack” is as captivating & charming as rock-music of any kind can get.
“How To Preach” lets Resilient have a bit of fun and just rock the fuck out for the sake of rocking the fuck out at the end…and I think after the intensely serious grip that these tunes tends to have on us as listeners, that we can all appreciate them lightening-up at the end of this album and reminding us that they’re enjoying themselves playing these tunes every bit as much as we are listening to them. Playing with the alternative pop-grunge vibe and just letting the energy invade the music for a moment, this sounds like Resilient going with the flow fluidly in the direction of the current…an organic and natural rock-song that sounds like it all fits. Fits and screams that is. It would have been a tough spot for any song to follow “Slack” – thankfully “How To Preach” is just as rewarding to listen to as the rest, albeit with a less serious tone…more in that party kind of rock-mode. You know the kind of party I’m talking about…the one where they invite a band like Resilient to tear it up on stage and then they literally DO tear up the stage and leave your furniture in the pool as the cops begin to show up and send an entire university’s worth of people running in all directions…THAT kind of party. “How To Preach” ends the record on the excesses and extremes of rock…providing more than enough in the punch to give you a solid hangover & reminder of the kickass experience you just had, listening to one of the raddest bands out there in the scene right now. I continue to be a strong believer that they’ll just keep on getting better and better…but there’s no denying how far they’ve already come in such a short time on How To Peach – it all sounds like Resilient X10 from the last time we heard them and I couldn’t be happier with or more proud of them for continuously pushing the boundaries and borders of alternative music like they have on their new record. Really well done Resilient, as expected my friends.
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