A certain kind of pessimism permeates the music scene these days; newer bands follow too firmly in the footsteps of their influences, and in the process, fail to innovate and break away from the pack. However, this pessimism proves utterly ill-founded when you look in the right places, and it’s bands like New York-based Peter is Dead that offer just such a place to look. Offering an eclectic mix of downplayed Zen offerings, band members Peter Carlovich and Savanna Boyer deliver a freakish mix of noise and warbling, psychedelic rock stylings on the Assassin of Youth EP that resist anything like predictability.
Sparkling ambience and atmospheric keys permute both “The World Today… (If MTV Didn’t Stop Playing Music)” and “The Sound,” the former’s layered synthesizers and minimalist percussion evoking the serene textures of Radiohead’s The King of Limbs or Nine Inch Nail’s Ghosts I-IV, the latter furthering the EP’s weirding with lush quasi-industrial vocals reverberating thickly with bouncy, almost polka-esque bass in the pocket with the drums in a fashion that beckons to mind Swan’s hypnotic masterpiece, The Seer. “Ventilator” begins with quietly creepy space-pop soundscapes, its arpeggiated plucking understated and harmonious, the notable addition of viola and cello by Sean Brekke and Nicholas John, respectively, really filling the mix with plangent abandon; doubtless the most Zen of the songs on the EP, “Ventilator” is the most likely to catch the attention of more mainstream listeners. Finally, the closing title track “Assassin of Youth” flaunts almost Orange Goblin styled, envelope filtered guitar and shimmering Bill Rieflin-esque cymbal work, elements of prog and noise self-evident as cacophony gives way to a soaring, funk-flaring conclusion.
Ultimately, Assassin of Youth boldly flips the bird in the face of those who cynically claim all music these days is predictable, dull, or derivative. Drawing on the influence of countless genre-defying artists, Peter is Dead offers its own distinct oddness as a fresh flavor for palates blanched by the stale pallor of the mainstream.