Friday, July 2, 2010

Monsters Singing You To Sleep

A music review.

The music scene is riddled with average singers, couched in polished production and sugared with Autotune. Everybody sounds the same, it seems.

Scott Peterson, of Pittsburgh's feisty band The Wreckids, is no average singer. And he's no average songwriter, either. Accompanied by his brilliant actress/musician wife, Sarah Siplak, Peterson has made a record for our time, putting his toy boat of hope in a sloshing tub of fears.

The Wreckids' 2010 EP release Singing You To Sleep But Giving You Nightmares finds a place between worlds of sweetness and bitterness, often stealing into both. The Wreckids tell wry stories of loss and heartbreak, layering thrilling harmonies with old school acoustic guitar playing. They're not afraid to make you laugh or make you cry; Peterson's authenticity simply demands a response from you.

"What'R We Gonna Do?" drops you into the Wreckids' cockeyed world of jokes wrapped in dark but plain observations. We're trapped in our boring lives, Peterson reminds us before advising us to "eat" and "sleep" in order to deal with it. "Somebody's Heart" cuts you with its scalpel lyrics only to sew you back up with its soaring vocals and harmonies. And you'll sing along without meaning to; this is a real folk album.

But don't expect a 70's throwback: Peterson isn't James Taylor or Joni Mitchell. The Wreckids are clearly not trying to replicate a sound. If you need a comparison, Peterson might be closer to earnestness of Ani DiFranco with the tenderness of Rufus Wainwright. He's playful, too, like Regina Spektor, but kind of nerdy, like Ben Folds.

The point is: The Wreckids have a whole sound, a new voice on the scene. And Peterson and Siplak put on an undeniably riveting live show that grabs and builds audiences immediately. There is something special here, and audiences in Pittsburgh and New York City know it.

In a music world of hipsters, rockers, ingenues, and models, The Wreckids bring you something different. They bring you the real thing: music for music's sake. Get this record. It'll soon be one of your favorites.

Singing You To Sleep But Giving You Nightmares is available on itunes.

Full disclosure: The Wreckids' Peterson and Siplak have been known to personally serve food, jokes, and whiskey to the author of this review. Among other things.

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