Cactus Peach combines elements of bluegrass, darkwave, surf rock, and psychedelia with solid vocals and a truly “anything goes” style of songwriting to create a surprisingly accessible pastiche of a band.
I was immediately drawn in by Tommy Elfman, a waltz-like piece in 3/4 time which constantly alternates between sounding dreamy and nightmarish with surprising aplomb before segueing into an electronics-driven psychedelic breakdown. The name is not explained by the drug-trip lyrics, but there's more than a suggestion of film composer and ex-Boingo mastermind Danny Elfman in their songs' arrangements and occasionally wailing vocals.
Another standout track is Dueling Twins, which starts out with a bluegrass twang before transitioning into a slow, heavy southern gothic piece accentuated with occasional bursts of vocal harmony reminiscent of Kansas. The hard-boiled lyrics tell a grim story of two brothers locked in a fatal rivalry over a woman, giving the song a gritty, blood soaked narrative.
Then, just to show off their slightly-too-precocious quirkiness, they launch into Beachy. What starts out sounding like a surf-influenced pop song of lovers under the moon quickly succumbs to tripped-out weirdness, with the band merrily caterwauling in harmony before laying a jerky guitar riff over what appears to be a weather report. These guys are nothing if not creative.
All in all, I found Cactus Peach to be a breath of fresh air, not surprising since they come from Austin's vibrant music scene. Adventurous indie rock fans looking for something a little different will be right at home.