You Should Already Own: Fossils and Other Phantoms by Peggy Sue

By: Bethany Hansraj

You Should Already Own: Fossils and Other Phantoms by Peggy Sue
Photo: courtesy of the band
Fossils and Other Phantom by Peggy Sue

I'm going to make a vast generalization and assume that this isn't the type of music that you would normally listen to. Folk roots is certainly one of the of the most overlooked genres in modern music, but Fossils and Other Phantoms by UK-based trio Peggy Sue manages to make it more accessible with musical talent that would impress even the biggest skeptic.

On their MySpace page, Peggy Sue have compiled a list of likely hundreds of bands and musical artists who have influenced them. While it may seem a bit contrived, on Fossils and Other Phantoms you can truly hear that all kinds of music have touched Katy, Rosa and Olly in a way that makes their music an emotional and personal auditory experience. They seemed to have shaved it all down to the bare bones, picking out the most essential musical elements that make their songs honest, moving pieces of music. 

What stands out as the most striking element on the album are the vocals. The voices of singers Katy and Rosa reach out in two different directions to create a harmony that will either wrench your heart or make it soar. The vocal acrobatics they pull off are breathtaking in more ways than one. Switching seamlessy between melody and harmony, their two voices as a unit combine and collapse, soar and dive, into a completely unified sound. Together, their voices are a single instrument.

The title track "Fossils" showcases their vocal abilities better than any other track on the album. At almost all times, there is a harmony atop a melody. However, it becomes nearly impossible to tell which is which. They blend so perfectly that the two voices, singing entirely two different parts, create one strange but perfect sound. And if the multi-faceted vocals alone weren't enough to pull you in, drummer Olly adds another emotional layer to the mix. In "Watchman," among other tracks, percussion is more than taps and rolls; it is another source of melody and harmony. The drum kit weaves between the voices and the occasional additional instrument. The percussion Olly provides makes the listening experience three-dimensional, or four-dimensional.

Although it's obvious that a great deal of thought has been put into creating the unlikely harmonies that characterize the album and the band itself, there is something very natural about the whole thing. "Raw" is the word that comes to mind, as the emotions conveyed through the vocals and lyrics are honest. They perfectly express those feelings that you can't even begin to put into words.

Peggy Sue bring true artistry to a music industry that at large is caught up in appearances, and something brand new to an indie music scene that needs a refresher.  Opting for minimalism rather than spectacle, Fossils and Other Phantoms puts raw talent on display.

Fossils and Other Phantoms has tugged and hauled on my heart strings with some of the most honest songwriting I've ever heard. With lyrics that express feelings that most people can't - or refuse to - verbalize, and an unrestrained, visceral combination of musical elements, Peggy Sue have managed to create one of the best albums I may ever hear. And I'm certain that once you own this album, it will be a favourite of yours as well.

Video: "Watchmen" by Peggy Sue


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