Music Review: "My Bad" by Gregory Pepper And His Problems
- by Señor Editor, 25 March 2014
We don’t necessarily think that every indie artist we like should be selling out stadiums and signing tits every time they leave house, but if there’s one artist in recent years that seems criminally slept on, it’s Gregory Pepper. Good news, though, as Pepper’s flagship band, Gregory Pepper And His Problems, have just released a new EP on Choose My Music Records.
If you’re following the Trash Mutant music articles as closely as I like to think you are, then you will remember Pepper from this interview we did in 2012, or this review. This time around, the Fake Four Inc musician comes out with a record that sounds unlike any of his past outings. The “My Bad” EP features seven brand new songs, clocking in at under 15 minutes. The production is unlike the more electronic “With Trumpets Flaring” or the hip hop crossovers of “Great Depression” and “Big Huge Truck”. If anything, it’s the most similar to the live instruments of “Escape from the Crystal Skull Mountain”, though the songs on “My Bad” have a more pop sound, and seem much more warm and less cynical.
The opening track, “Anything is Passable”, is a hell of an earworm. It’s one of the best songs on the EP, so I don’t mind having it stuck in my head, though. If the mellowed-out humming at the beginning doesn’t make you feel all cozy and relaxed and happy, then Pepper’s homey lyrics, like “Yo, where my kitty’s at? She’s hiding on the bedroom floor” (proving against all odds, that a man singing about his cats can actually be good) will. Though the mood of the record changes, this sort of very private, laidback feeling is present throughout the EP.
The centerpiece of “My Bad”, the piano-driven title song, is another highlight here. It’s one of these seemingly simple songs that really make you appreciate Pepper’s skills as a composer and songwriter. The harmony of it, the mood it conveys from the slow start to the powerful ending, are things that become clearer and clearer with each listen. It’s one of the three songs here that last more than two minutes, but you never get a feeling that any of these tracks end abruptly. Each song is a nice and complete experience, and there’s a richness to them that makes it hard to notice how short they actually are. A good example of that is the beautifully peaceful, folky “Restless Legs”, another standout, that’s barely 80 seconds long, and yet it’s one of the slower songs, with two verses and some great harmonica parts.
The songs that, at least lyrically, might remind longtime listeners of Pepper’s previous work, are “Is This Thing On?” and “Shy Gangsta”. Both fit in here really well, though, and the former is one of my favorites here, adding some good energy to the EP.
I make it a point to mention the things I didn’t like about every thing I review, but it’s hard to find anything that’s not to like on “My Bad”. Fans of hearing Pepper on hip hop beats don’t really get anything here, but with “Big Huge Truck” coming out last year, that’s not really something one should worry about. This is a great EP, that shows a more warm, and dare I say it “intimate”, side of Gregory Pepper And His Problems. It also manages to capture most of what’s best about Pepper’s music in a nice, cohesive set of songs.
I’m a little bummed out that the CD version is limited to only a 100 copies, cause that means that the ship has probably sailed for me getting a physical copy, but hey, there’s always the digital. Make sure to check it out.
The record comes out today. You can listen to and buy “My Bad” EP on the Choose My Music Records bandcamp page. Also, make sure to like Gregory Pepper And His Problems and Choose My Music on Facebook, if you like what you hear.