Peach Pit, a breezy indie pop quartet from Vancouver, has released their highly anticipated third studio album, From 2 to 3, and it does not disappoint. The 11-track project feels authentically Peach Pit, though a great deal more mature — where previous projects fell short of establishing a full-fledged identity, From 2 to 3 does all that and more. The Vancouver outfit has been known to play with thick washes of reverb and unique indie-guitar licks in the past — here they sound cleaner and more resonant than ever in what seems to be their most full-grown record to date.
From 2 to 3 opens with a familiar track, “Up Granville,” that was released as the first single for this album in October. It is certainly a safe bet for an opening, with a shimmering chime of guitar strings and a full bassline that would fit in well with predecessor albums. The chorus is entirely pleasant and palatable, making this the perfect track to serve as an introduction for non-fans. “Up Granville” is an archetypal Peach Pit song that can best be described as easy listening, albeit rather uneventful.
Listeners are then immersed in the percussive acoustic guitar line and tight drumbeat of “Vickie,” another familiar favorite released earlier this year. The mix bounces along rather jauntily and undulations of chorus-y lead guitar pass through the mix — it’s a song that would feel quite morose, lyrically, if not for Neal Smith’s good-natured delivery and the rather upbeat instrumentals that sit just behind.
From there, the record offers listeners strong tracks like “Lips Like Yours,” “Pepsi on the House” and “Look Out!,” all of which are ear-worms that utilize sounds from the typical indie pop soundscape. “Lips Like Yours” is a drowsy little track full of bright harmonics and fuzzy electric guitar — the vocals are gentle and seem to almost drag behind the rest of the mix, creating a dissonance that is oh-so-sweet. It details a relationship that feels one-sided; that makes you lose your sense of self-preservation in favor of a shadow of love — certainly something which each of us may identify with. “Pepsi on the House” is an instant favorite that moves quickly without rushing. It is placed perfectly on the record, picking up pace and delivering some momentum just before the album would begin to drag. The song is fraught with synths, layered reverb and muffled drum beats, not really pushing the envelope of shoegaze music, but certainly producing some quality sounds. Here, Peach Pit feels full-grown, with songs imbued with character and warmth; each track is different from the last but no less intentional or developed.
With their musical identity fully in place, Peach Pit is able to pull exciting sounds from unexpected genres in some of their best tracks to date. Perhaps the most impressive song off of the album is “Give Up Baby Go” — already amassing over a million streams on Spotify, only days after its release. The song draws from rockabilly and blues genres with western undertones existing throughout the song — quacky lead guitar articulations work in tandem with a roaming bassline and the relentless tsk of cymbals. Despite this playful genre-bending, “Give Up Baby Go” remains distinctly indie with heavy reverb and a full spatial effect and is a unique new interpretation of the band’s sound.
Almost equally special is “Last Days of Lonesome,” which delves into the band’s surf-rock roots. It’s a simple track that stands out through washes of drawn-out notes from a slide-guitar that lift and float through the mix. Absent here is a strong presence of Mikey Pascuzzi’s drum work, but persistent acoustic guitar takes up the task of maintaining rhythm in the center of the track.
From 2 to 3 winds down with “Drips on a Wire” a less memorable, though certainly quality song — it seems to be along for the ride, bleeding into the tracks before and after. “2015” is awash with organs and synths that sit in the outskirts of your earbuds as you listen. Smith’s voice sits up high in an impressive falsetto and mid-range before dipping below into a deeper register. The title track, “From 2 to 3,” concludes the album — it is familiar and honest, describing feelings of confusion and guilt associated with breakups and moving on. The parting notes are of a stinging, swirling synth that fades into quiet.
From 2 to 3 is a testament to Peach Pit’s growth in the last few years — it remains even and balanced throughout, and each track is thoroughly enjoyable. They are able to establish a fully hashed-out identity that feels authentic and engaging and allows them to experiment with sounds that were perhaps out of their wheelhouse in years past. The subtle spins and risks that Peach Pit takes in From 2 to 3 spell out future genre-bending for the band as they continue to grow into their own in projects to come.
Here, Peach Pit is lyrically sardonic though much of the record describes yearning and companionship that border on the saccharine — it’s about the quiet moments of loving someone, even if they don’t know how to be loved. From 2 to 3 is hopelessly romantic and it details all of the crushing experiences that are oh-so-familiar to each of us. Listeners can feel the distinct bitterness of being used by someone you love so dearly and wanting someone you might never have. The rougher edges of sorrow are sanded down by the band’s playful cynicism and often upbeat instrumentals — it doesn’t intend to be a lamentation of heartbreak and lost connections, but rather offers an intelligent perspective on love, loss and healing that seems to build, listen after listen.
Daily Arts Writer Claire Sudol can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.