The Acrobatics of Breaking Up (according to Peggy Sue)

by Maggie Beauvais

Nothing contorts the brain into more circus-worthy shapes than the decision making process that accompanies initiating a break up. This is something that a band called Peggy Sue well knows.  Peggy Sue (formally Peggy Sue and the Pirates and Peggy Sue and the Pictures) is a double lady fronted indie folk trio from Brighton, England.  Their new album Acrobat was released about a month ago.  They played a show at the Knitting Factory last week. 

For Acrobat, Peggy Sue digs up shadowy antifolk melodies from the grunge-era graveyard and sets them to strong vocal harmonies that commemorate a relationship’s end.  What is unique about this sad love story in particular is that it is told from an angle dark and not often expressed, that of the lady perpetrator’s. Acrobat’s songs cover every brooding chapter in the narrative of an emotional task that plagues many a contemporary female’s romantic life: convincing your stubborn visceral reflexes that it is in their best interest to abandon the domestic comfort ship to nowhere.  Each song renders a different shade of the paralysis born out of the contention between your heart saying yes and your head saying no (and vice versa to the power of infinity).  Acrobat’s opener “Cut My Teeth”  is a grim, sludgy-guitared (and catchy) nod to the guilty lady vampire in all of us who only feigns to reciprocate the love she keeps captive for too long.  The song “Funeral Beat” is a hybrid march-gospel for the walking dead that forgives said lady vampire, sings the troubles of the profoundly mind (and, in turn, agenda)-crippling force that is an ardent lover’s affection.  The song “Parking Meter Blues” is the soundtrack to the coma that eclipses your waking life when the offense of relenting to that affection is stuck on repeat.  The songs “Shadows” (my personal favorite) and “Boxes” are about the ghosts of the aforementioned affection that attach themselves to (and blindside) everything in your newly detached life’s view.  

At the Knitting Factory show, Peggy Sue arrived on stage with a presence to match both the character of their humble pie band name and the melancholy of Acrobat’s spirit.  They were dressed from head to toe in funerary black, kept their expressions subdued under cool-toned spotlights. They played through several tracks before even introducing themselves. If they did any lingering at all between songs, the talk was shy and quietly funny.  All behavioral evidence that Acrobat’s emotional contorting comes from far too candid a place to resemble anything close to a circus act. 

Unfortunately, Peggy Sue has left the country for now.  In the mean time, you can get your fix by streaming the album for free from their facebook page:

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