Sunday, March 30, 2008

Review: Sizing up the singular Peekers, Shreveport's other indie rock sextet

01-12-08 - The Peekers 026
Originally uploaded by myelination
When I heard The Big Positive in 2005 I nearly pooped; their early myspace tracks featured tight harmonies and keyboard parts beyond their years. Later, John Martin and Michael Stephens of Big Positive joined forces with songstress Brittney Maddox. That's the essence of the Peekers, one of Shreveport's most popular gang of groovies.

Martin is a mensch. His sense of composition is complex, melodic, Beatlesque. Each section of a John Martin tune has its own story to tell. And in each one he tries to keep himself from getting bored.

Michael Stephens is master of dynamics and of George Harrison-like tonalities and riffery. He's a capable singer, too.

Brittney Maddox is a solo performer as well as a writer of tunes and setter of moods. Listen to recordings on and you'll see where she and Martin mesh. Folk pop melodies bubble up from her heart. Martin blends her flights with his descents. And they have one of the more prestigious recording deals of local bands: they're on the Park The Van label.

Yet: pardon me if I envision the end of the charming Peekers. For all their work, I hear a different set of singers if there is to be larger success for Brittney Maddox.

John Martin and Michael Stephens need one more voice capable of Lennon-McCartney tightness. And there must be utter submission to Martin's compositional needs.

The Peekers are two great bands currently under one tent.

You'll get some idea of the creative collision that is the Peekers in a video of "Gather it all" shot at the KSCL Battle of the Bands 08.


Schleuss said...

great bit! esp. the "pooped" part
blogged at:

christopher said...

you're free to use any of my photos! i'm flattered. i need to start using my camera a lot more. schoolwork has ben dragging me down recently.

nice write up on the peekers. i think britt's voice is a necessary part of the conglomeration. she adds the cool sultry potion to john's clobbering piano and michael's strained guitar that keeps the whole ship on a mellow even keel.

trudeau said...

Mr Christopher, you have a winning way with words and lovely insight into the Peekers' appeal. While I stand by my opinion, I'm happy to have yours.

And thanks for the keys to your flickr photo bank.

Jackie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jackie said...

I've gotta say I'm glad you like the Peekers however, I agree with Chris. I'd also like to say that you ignored half of the band. Jordan is a talented base player and a great back up singer. If you ever heard his seldom performed duet "I've Got Mine" with Britney you'd wonder why he wasn't given the mike more often. As for Aubrey, her voice is melodious and is often over shadowed by Britney's however when you listen to her singing lead on "Sweet Singin Birds" your heart falls to pieces. What makes the Peekers such a wonderful local band is that they are over flowing with talent. I know lead singers and lead guitarists get all the attention but with this band you simply can't ignore the rest.

trudeau said...

Thanks, Jackie. Blog posts are ridiculously short, so it really works when thoughtful respondents like you complete the picture.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the introduction to both bands. I've got "Monday" from The Big Positive on repeat. It's their only remaining song on myspace, sadly. The Peekers are neat, as well. Refreshing instrumentation, if a bit funkier than expected. They remind me of Dr. Dogg a bit. A great fit for SXSW if you ask me!
-Hunter C

Brittney said...

I stand by my idea that perhaps trudeau is trapped in a very snug musical box.... Possibly unexpandable and unburnable. Maybe he could escape it if only he dig a little bit, leaving behind the stale idea that things were better when. Life is only evolution in every aspect. Let's embrace it and continue to evolve. What comes is better if you want. Shame on you for not supporting our vision. We could have used the support, though it's certainly not needed. Thank you for taking the time to think about us so deeply. We are fueled by our love for each others ideas. It can't and won't be stopped. Sincerely, brittney of the peekers