sat 27/11/2021

Album: Peyton - PSA | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Peyton - PSA

Album: Peyton - PSA

Perfectly smooth and subtly strange modernist Texan soul

For 25 years now, LA label Stones Throw records has become one of the most reliable brands in music. It began with, and has always been associated with, the leftfield hip hop of founder George “Peanut Butter Wolf” Manak, and regular contributors Madlib and J Dilla.

But from very early on, it was heavily invested also in the music that hip hop sampled, signing live bands, mining archives for reissue and providing platforms for underappreciated musical elders, always with emphasis on the strange and stoned – so in fact its aesthetic overall is probably better summed up as psychedelic soul rather than just hip hop as such. 

Texan singer-songwriter Peyton certainly fits into that. Her debut album is a velvet dream of a record, its hymns to self-belief and childlike wonder buoying you up on candyfloss clouds, every sound and surface perfectly smooth, not a thing to jar. But that doesn’t mean it’s slight: Peyton is a classical singer trained to degree level, and grew up in the southern Black church tradition mentored by her grandmother, the late, Grammy-nominated gospel singer Theola Booker, and this album has all the musical sophistication that this background implies. 

The overall sound is the kind of fusion of turn of the millennium Timbaland style ultra-synthetic R&B with more rootsy neo-soul songwriting and an occasional bit of ostentatious Eighties boogie for good measure. It’s the sort of thing British label Tru Thoughts has specialised in in recent years, but it fits very naturally too with the elusive, but know-it-when-you-hear-it Stones Throw aesthetic. In particular, Peyton’s voice and hooks both are ultra subtle: they’re so perfect they’re almost transparent, yet as you listen again, you’ll realise they actually lodged in your brain first listen and the songs now sound like old classics. It might sound synthetic and dreamlike on superficial listening, but you’ll find its effects are very real indeed.

@joemuggs

 Watch "Let it Flow" 

Its hymns to self-belief and childlike wonder buoy you up on candyfloss clouds, every sound and surface perfectly smooth

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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