First Appeared in The Music Box, August 2007, Volume 14, #8
Written by Douglas Heselgrave
Thu August 13, 2007, 05:30 AM CDT
Firefly, the debut from Peppertown, boasts a heartfelt collection of songs that should appeal to fans of John Mellencamp, Bob Seger, and Bruce Springsteen. Though vocalist Scott Seifferman doesnít particularly sound like any of these artists, the sincerity of his approach to singing a song or telling a story places the bandís efforts squarely in the roots-music camp. Originally from Indiana, Peppertown has had a solid fanbase in the Midwest for years, and Firefly is meant to serve as the groupís introduction to a broader North American audience.
Firefly is, in many ways, a difficult album to assess. All four members of Peppertown quite obviously are accomplished, professional musicians, and all of the songs are played with sincerity and commitment. There is nothing false or contrived about any of the tunes or the bandís approach to them. Seifferman has a good, rugged singing voice. He and fellow acoustic guitarist Ryan Baker are adequate players who possess superb rhythmic sensibilities.
Tackling themes of romance, work, and the meaning of life, Peppertown uses its songs to explore modern dilemmas, such as addiction, but while its approach is direct, it also is uninspired. Generally speaking, the lyrics spring from the heart, but they also are not particularly erudite. Clunker lyrics ó like "They say Iím crazy/But I say Iím sane/People call me lazy/But I make my pain" ó rear their ugly heads throughout the endeavor, thus diminishing the overall experience of Fireflyís 11 tracks.
Oddly enough, the tunes that are most effective and moving on Firefly are those on which Peppertown strives the least. With its lovely blues guitar intro and its understated vocals, Season to Burn is the most successful song simply because the group opted to serve the music by resisting any temptation to add unnecessary frills or accompaniments.
With Firefly, Peppertown has delivered a collection of songs that reflects the Midwestern values and aesthetics into which its members were born. Pleasant though its songs may be, however, the outing ultimately doesnít offer much that is very interesting or challenging. The lyrics are too simplistic because the band completely avoids quirky wordplay or unpredictable rhymes. The music, too, is generic; the playing lacks innovation. Still, the album is better than Bob Segerís new disc (Face the Promise), and itís more authentic than anything John Fogerty has recorded in years. In the end, music fans who already are predisposed to middle-of-the-road, country-roots fare will take a liking to Firefly.
Firefly is available from Barnes & Noble.
To order, Click Here!
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2007 The Music Box