THIS IS NOT AN EXIT
The gleaming debut album from ill peach is an impressively multi-faceting record broken into thirds. The first is a smattering of appetizers to give you a taste of what the chefs are capable of. The second is a thick-cut steak with delicate sides, and the final act is a cool sorbet best enjoyed by the lake. It’s a spotless offering from the duo and one of the most complete debut albums in recent memory.
Another album, Northern Transmissions enjoyed, that might have missed some love.
The self-described ‘grit-pop’ tandem from the musically less-fertile states of Wyoming and Minnesota, Jess Corazza and Pat Morrisey, have made their way to Sub Pop’s imprint Hardly Art, after years of making music. For other people. Until it got to the point where they were told they were too creative, too unique to make music for someone else and that they oughta create for themselves.
The buzzy, distorted bass makes its first appearance on “BLAH BLAH BLAH” and continues to be an essential element throughout THIS IS AN EXIT. The consistent heavy bass-driven throbs and blasts give the album much-needed gravity to keep the softer moments from floating away. With this balance, they’ve taken a pop album and flipped it into an alt-pop meets garage rock record with a rusty tinge. This smear of darkness and weight layers THIS IS AN EXIT with an indispensable differentiator from their peers.
Lyrically, Jess Corazza and her words are accessible and simplistic sounding; however, they come from a more significant motivation and meaning. Words that could come across as empty fluff on “BLAH BLAH BLAH” were born during the Roe v Wade overturn – and reflect on the cycle of life to death and back again.
The transition from appetizers to the meaty steak happens after the odd transition moment of “Tornado Weather” twirls us up and throws us into the storm. Starting with “HUSH,” the 90s’ sounding beast that effortlessly twists big bass blasts and driving too fast into soft verses. The balance shown is not an easy one and is a microcosm of the album itself – a testament to both their production and songwriting abilities. On one end, the influence of Radiohead seeps into the production, particularly with complex drums and constant builds – but on the other hand, it is anchored by the soaring melodies similar to that of Coldplay, where simplicity is power.
On the final third of the album is the gem of THIS IS NOT AN EXIT, the lovely slow burn “HEAVYWEIGHT,” which touches your ears like a cold sorbet after a decadent steak touches your tongue – a wonderfully touching track that manages to avoid getting saccharine despite its sweetness.
In many ways, THIS IS NOT AN EXIT is ill peach opening their musical treasure chest, revealing all their strengths at once. Structurally, the pieces are not new takes for the trusty wheel, but there’s a creative ooze soaking the production at every avenue – giving your ears so much to cling to. Jess Corazza’s vocal performance is impressive – an effortlessly dynamic landscape show across all thirteen songs.
Could ill peach pick more of a lane? Could they take their debut and go create a juggernaut pop album? Yes. Could they get angrier and douse us in an alternative-rock frenzy next? Probably. For now, THIS IS NOT AN EXIT is a delicious first bite and is fittingly summarized by the words spoken on the title track: this is “just the beginning, this is not an exit. I walked through the door, and the sign said this is not an exit.”
Pre-order THIS IS AN EXIT by ill peach HERE
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