No one could accuse LA outfit The Peach Kings of making records that are too long or boring. Since 2011, the group–cornerstone members Paige Wood and Steven Dies, along with a revolving assortment of friends and drummers–have put out three releases, the longest of which is six tracks. The most recent release, the Mojo Thunder EP, stays true to the template: it’s a brisk listen at five tracks, though this is the first Peach Kings release that hasn’t left me wanting more.
The group’s discography is filled with tiny masterpieces of carefully crafted simplicity. The Kings marinate doo-wop in the loneliness blues of Wood’s voice, then fleck it with surprising dub step highlights; they make meaty, complex songs crammed with different influences and nods to various eras. Who wouldn’t want a full-length album of that hotness? . But Mojo Thunder concentrates on developing one sound–a cinematic, glamourpuss groove–instead of spinning through the band’s wheelhouse. The single “Be Around” is all electric guitar riffs and cymbal shimmers as Wood sings the first verse, “Every silver lining’s got a razor’s edge/ We are victorious, now off with their heads,” at the high end of her register. The drama continues with the rockabilly-tinged title track and the understated but lust-driven “Say What.” The tunes are good–groovy and infectious on first listen–but if you’ve listened to Handsome Moves, you can’t be satisfied with Mojo Thunder. There isn’t a single example on this EP of the sort of stripped-down track that, on both the previous records, gave Wood a chance to stretch and flex her shape-shifting, powerhouse voice. Consider “Lonely,” off Handsome Moves: when The Peach Kings play to the more vulnerable end of their spectrum, they make some of their best songs. Though Mojo Thunder is fun to listen to, the EP focuses on being hooky and theatrical at the expense of bearing soul.
Check out “Hold On,” my favorite track off the Mojo Thunder EP, below!