NYC “sleepy surf rock” band Deep Sea Peach Tree, a project first concocted by Kristof Denis and enlisting friends Zack Pockrose and Andrew Dell Isola to complete the band, sound like Dick Dale transplanted into the early 21st century and loaded up on downers. The surf rock tendencies of the music are often obscured or distorted but present for attentive listeners. Others may crinkle their nose, arch an eyebrow, and ask where the resemblance is. They aren’t listening.
Woe to Denis for loving to surf and calling New York City home. He’s turned lemons into lemonade, however, and the passion for the form fuels his creativity. There are an assortment of textures present in Deep Sea Peach Tree’s new single “You and McGregor” and the band allows each one ample opportunity to breathe and develop before moving on to its next idea. It’s a pleasure to hear guitar fueled songs such as this without the wallowing in cliché and hollow invoking of past greatness.
It has its own fierce identity. There are common reference points with other music, of course, but no one will claim Deep Sea Peach Tree is attempting to tide on someone else’s bygone glories. They’ve revamped the genre’s traditional sound, skewed it in keeping with the times, and have discovered a way of pouring old wine into new bottles that few listeners will find disagreeable. I wish Denis’ vocals were a little clearer during key sections, but even the indistinct lyrics are nevertheless delivered with feeling certain to capture the attention of many.
Denis and his cohorts wisely never bite off any more than they can chew. They don’t hem themselves in, however, catering to any faux notions of purity – there’s a school of thought that says the best songs are the shortest and it’s far from an universal truth. Deep Sea Peach Tree develops the song at the pace it requires than imposing an arbitrary design on the track. Few listeners will object to its running time or feel cheated.
Denis has a strong voice for this sort of shoegaze material. He clearly shows the potential for whipping himself up into a frenzy, comparatively speaking, when needed. It doesn’t feel or sound like performative melancholy; Denis convinces me early on and many others will be as well.
The guitar sound could use a little less in terms of effects at some points in the song. This is really a matter of personal preference, so your mileage may vary, but I am a fan of the overall guitar sound. No one can accuse Deep Sea Peach Tree of following a single trajectory as there are interesting shifts throughout the performance. The project has largely played the New York City area, so far, with occasional ventures further afield, but they are planning to tour deeper into the United States during 2022. There’s nothing about “You and McGregor” that says they aren’t ready. The song will translate seamlessly into live performance and receive an enthusiastic reception wherever they go.