Peter McPoland Covers New Ground with His Debut Album ‘Piggy’ [Album Review]

Olive Soki

Life has its way of nudging us towards unavoidable change. Whether we decide to attribute these transitions to predestination or some other cosmic theory it is always quite mesmerizing to witness. Alike the wonder one feels once the leaves finally turn in autumn, these changes occur progressively, but are ultimately necessary. The same is true for musicians and their craft.

Texas born singer-songwriter, Peter McPoland remembers quite clearly the moment he experienced the true love connection that set him on his musical path, “ The first time I picked up a guitar and felt a band within a few feet of me, it was like I created something bigger than myself, and I loved it.” Years later he let eager listeners into the larger than self experience he’d harnessed, this time with his own music, when his single, “Romeo & Juliet” went viral on TikTok - and again when he performed his debut EP Slow Down

Up until then, his music was reflective of the sounds he’d discovered and mastered when he initially fell in love with music. However, along the ride, somewhere after the Twenty One Pilots tour, there came a time where it felt somewhat necessary for Peter’s sound, and subsequent musical orbit, to reflect the person he’d grown into. While it took some time away from the rustle and bustle of the city and a case of writer’s block to get the ball moving, his newly acquired sound eventually came about and so did his debut album, Piggy.

Fuelled by month-long bouts of post punk obsession and a need to replicate the deep feelings he attributed to, and felt while listening to new wave in his own music, Piggy is what happens when an artist throws caution to the wind and lets their instincts kick in. As McPoland perfectly articulates,  “... The Cure was a puzzle without the picture on the box, and John Prine was a puzzle with the box and the corners already done.” Away from the sounds and progressions he’d learned and mastered at the beginning of his career, Piggy allowed Peter to explore coarser sounds and production styles that spoke to him on a different level. 

A collection of songs nestled somewhere between feelings of frustration, desire, and wander, all backdropped by droning synths and busy production, Piggy is anything but stagnant. Instead, armed with his usual emotive vocal style, and the lyrics to match it, Peter uses contrast as a device to tie the project together. Speaking on this new change of pace Peter shares, “Nothing is more handsome to me than contrast. I just eat it right up! I was writing slow songs almost exclusively for basically my whole life. To make a whole album with not a single second to breathe…(maybe to my own detriment) that is contrast!” and I couldn't agree more. Going from the elongated and textured opener “Mold” to a fuzzy and yet striking track like “Blue,” that is contrast. To move in and out of feelings of isolation and desire ("I Need You”), that is contrast. To simply let the many crests and troughs of the mega sized wave that is life have their way with you, without a map to navigate its many flows, is a distinctive experience filled with that alluring contrast Peter spoke of and perfectly illustrates throughout Piggy.

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