Largely the vision of former Antlers bassist Justin Stivers, Passenger Peru rides Stivers bass into more experimental areas than Antlers usual fare. Stivers teamed up with Justin Gonzalez to bring Passenger Peru’s self-titled album into existence.
From the start of the album, you get the impression that Stivers attempted to bring the experimental side of Animal Collective together with the pop roots of 60’s and 70’s southern California rock. I won’t pin it all on the Beach Boys, but you get the idea. Stivers manages to do this pretty convincingly on tracks like “Heavy Drugs.”
The strongest moments on this album come when the songs don’t try to do too much. For my money, “Weak Numbers” is the zenith of this record. The vocals seem almost brittle and the low-key guitar passages are perfect and well placed. Everything is combined to create a delicate master-stroke at the heart of this album. Passenger Peru started off a bit run-of-the-mill, but really blossomed by the time “Tiger Lilly” came around. Filled with a driving melody, noisy guitars, and looped samples, it’s a track that deserves your attention.
Passenger Peru shows a lot of promise on their first album. There are adventurous moments here and Stivers demonstrates a keen melodic sense. The evolution of Passenger Peru’s sound definitely isn’t complete, so future albums will get bigger and better. Spend a little time with Passenger Peru and see where this could go.