Peglegasus

Texas Platters

Phases and Stages

Peglegasus

Learning Curve

Here's another reason to tip a lobe toward this tightly honed yet perennially under-recognized Austin band. The curve imagery in the title of Peglegasus' fifth album is appropriate given the local quartet's tendency to eschew straightforward pop in favor of winding mini-sagas that meander about like a lazy river. Despite the lack of obvious money shots, Peglegasus' Meat Puppets-style dynamic is an attraction in itself. The sun-beaten, psychedelic glory of John Voskamp and Berke Marye's six-string yarns is kicked into hyperdrive by Peter Voskamp's tastefully frenetic drumming. Though Learning Curve is best heard whole, "Stunning Bijou" stands out by walking a crooked jig along Bryan Nelson's playful, darting bassline as the lyric spins a vague tale of mind-altering elixirs and underwater adventures. "Bilge Pump" is a terse rocker accented with a distraught bridge of Crazy Horse-flavored guitar filigree. Immediately following is "Crogue," a slight, hypoxia-inducing instrumental that conjures visions of undersea angels shuffling drowned seamen off this mortal coil. Peglegasus' ability to turn out diverse, evocative rock instrumentals is further evidenced in the lithe acoustics of "Intermission" and the rousing, deceptively named barn-burner "Any Old Thing." Though the nautical-leaning themes of Learning Curve make it a natural boating soundtrack, it works just as well at heightening the buzz of nomadic bliss on the highways. Take Peglegasus on a Hill Country drive and you'll see what I mean.

***.5

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