Gallery 47: Adversity Breeds (Bad Production Records)

Alt-folk songwriter Jack Peachey returns with second LP imbued with the spirits of Sufjan Stevens, Nick Drake and Neil Young

Released Sep 22nd, 2017 via Bad Production Records / By Norman Miller
Gallery 47: Adversity Breeds (Bad Production Records) This follow-up to his critically acclaimed debut album Clean sees alt-folk songwriter Gallery 47 - aka Jack Peachey – offering a more bitter view of life than before. 'If Clean was the romantic album, Adversity Breeds is the divorce,' is how Peachey puts it.

Gallery 47 formed ten years ago as a six-piece band but, as others went their separate way, Peachey found himself working as solo under the moniker. His supporters since then include BBC Radio 2‘s Bob Harris, BBC 6music’s Tom Robinson and The Guardian, while Peachey has also supported the likes of Paul Weller, Ian McCulloch and Andrew Montgomery as well as playing at T in the Park.

Inspiration for this new album came from a holiday row between Peachey and some family members over comments on the negativity of today’s youth, prompting 11 songs exploring a mix of real life and fictional events. The mood varies from upbeat to bittersweet.

Musically, Peachey has been hailed as the 'new Sufjan' - even though the 'old' Mr Stevens is still on damn good form if the likes of 2015's Carrie & Lowell are anything to go by. That said, there are tracks here spookily reminiscent of Sufjan's blend of dark lyrics delivered in a sweet high voice meshed into complex acoustic backings – most notably the wonderful opening Sanity Is Not Statistical and slowly captivating Leaving Work.

There's beautiful melancholy too in several other standout tracks. The old country swing and mournful violins of Cold Fire echo early Neil Young, while the gauzy trippy acoustric drift of the gorgeous Candy Smile conjures up the ghost of the late lamented Nick Drake.

There's an intriguing angry edge to Mr Baudelaire with its blend of whimsy and bile - 'Don't you fuck me about' spits Peachey before asking us to 'forgive me for the language' - while Your Time is a stunning examination of an alcoholic husband and the wife he batters, rendered all the more powerful by coming wrapped up in a slightly off-kilter acoustic wrapping.

The title track draws you in musically and lyrically from its candid opening line (All I know is I don't want to be a preacher), while In Odessa oozes an eerie and cool torch-song vamp.

Rather than trying to pin labels of 'the new' anything on Gallery 47, let's just celebrate an original talent who just happens to plough some similar furrows to a few past masters.