Roger Clyne & The Peacemaker’s new Album is Refreshing [MUSIC REVIEW]
Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers The Independent Review
“I ain’t got the words for this. I was building a bridge and realized I really love the abyss,” sings Roger Clyne on the opening track of The Independent, the newest studio album from the anti-major label, southern rock band from Arizona.
I have a long, deep relationship with Clyne and co. As a freshman in high school, I discovered the album Fizzy Fuzzy Big and Buzzy by The Refreshments and, like a fish to suspiciously easy prey, I was hooked. After The Refreshments sophomore effort, the band dissolved but that didn’t stop Clyne and drummer, P.H. Naffah, from scratching their musical itch. In 1998, they formed the completely independent act, Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers, and have been king of the indie music hill ever since.
On their seventh studio album, RCPM shows no signs of riding off into the sunset. In fact, I don’t think I have heard them this beautifully cohesive. It might be their most perfectly written album and their sonic register, well, that seems to encompass a lot these days.
In the opening track, Clyne croons about unrequited love in a voice of which Bob Dylan would be proud. While RCPM has always drawn from folk influences, The Independent has some of its best moments when really embracing the pop side of folk music. In another song, “California Breakdown,” I could hear equal parts Tom Petty and early Bryan Adams — of course, with Clyne’s signature next-level lyricism and southern swagger.
Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers also has a sneaky punk rock undertone that likes to pop its head out in Clyne’s lyrics. Being an old school punk rocker, how could I not love a song titled “Stick it to the Man” or lyrics like “I came to cure the lepers, now I’ve got chicken pox” from the song, “Once I was a Thief,” which feels like a bit of an indictment of the mainstream music machine. Clyne, you cheeky bastard.
With all the punk and folk, one could imagine that Roger Clyne & The Peacemaker’s usual mix of rock, country, and southwest flavors would be absent from the album. Fear not, my cowboy brethren, The Independent has those go-to sounds that we have all come to know and love. There were parts of the album that made me feel like I did when I was listening to The Refreshments on full blast out of my car stereo system in the middle of the high school parking lot. Maybe I am nostalgic for those old times, or maybe RCPM knows how to make music that has that effect on me. My vote is with the latter.
As of now, there are no videos posted for The Independent on youtube, so you will have to check out the song “Maybe we should Fall in Love” off of No More Beautiful World. Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers latest album, The Independent, is available now on iTunes.