Gazing out at the varying scene sectors across North America, patterns emerge like a shapeshifting quilt. Old designs are repurposed into something that is either aimed at appealing to an audience, or a personal patchwork to satisfy individual progress. This product of these efforts are either beautifully sewn landscapes, or banal glut.
New York City, due its sprawling size, has a propensity to provide aesthetically gratifying examples of sonic stitch work. The city has a deeply rooted attention to significant scene predecessors the world over, while still maintaining one’s identity. The auditory signs and sounds of the ‘no wave’ movement from the late ‘70s, and the post-punk experimentations that grew out of the genre’s decaying corpse (thanks Albert Mudrian), are tattooed upon the walls of the city’s rock scene. Contemporary experimental concepts from the Western Art world bubble up into the atmosphere and find there ways into as many sonic openings they can, big or small. This amalgamation of bristling ideas in a fast paced, ever-evolving region spawns bands like Peter Is Dead. Their most recent EP, Assassin of Youth, is a testament to when a band, or a scene, looks back into the past without committing “Bad Faith” (thanks JP Sartre) so as to progress forward.
Assassin of Youth roars with distinct threads to Suicide and Pere Ubu. There are even some spooled out ideas that connect to the UK’s Spacemen 3. The first portion of the EP is a collage of concepts. For example, ’The Sound’ opens as if Peter Is Dead spent a considerable amount of time listening to Meredith Monk’s Dolmen Music. ‘The Sweet Release Of Death’ feels like a rickety subway ride at maximum speed while the electrical flow through the rail system is haywire and frenetically jolting everyone on board. Clocking in at over ten minutes in length, the eponymous last track on the EP boils over with an intoxicating psych rock vibe while interjecting heavy impacting explosions of sound that feel like a crowbar to the face.
At first listen, Assassin of Youth might seem like a collection of disconnected concepts leaving the listener wondering how it is all connected. However, when one steps back and absorbs the sonic display, each element begins to show purpose and construct a greater sense of personal identity for the group. Is it a bit chaotic? Perhaps, but damn the EP fun to listen to once the threads take hold in the mind and the greater scope of what Peter Is Dead created. Much like a Georges Seurat painting you just need to back up and take in the artistry.
It’s damn good shit.
Assassin of Youth is out now and can be ordered here.
Words: Garrett A. Tanner