The Peripherals, formed in early 2010 is an American trio whose work is a blend of Folk, Indie Rock and Americana styling. Founding members Omar Musisko and Andrew Thams met while serving as volunteer smoke jumpers for the California Brown Bear Rescue Service during the “Great Fire” of Southern California. Dylan Jones joined the official lineup in January 2012 as the band had been experiencing steady local success and began booking larger venues.
The band has stayed largely underground with regards to group releases and performances until 2012 when they signed with the independent label Aural Gravy Records. They have just released their debut full-length album for Aural Gravy, “Declarations”.
The Peripherals are recognized for their three-part vocal harmonies, in addition to the range of instruments employed in each set of songs. Andrew Thams’ vocal range can vary from tenor to soprano while playing either guitar, bass, harmonica or violin. Omar Musisko commonly provides lower to mid-range vocals, but does dabble in higher ranges at times, while playing guitar, mandolin, bass, piano or harmonica. Dylan Jones sings dominantly tenor while performing a wide range of percussive instruments; utilizing a full drum kit in addition to cajons, shakers, and an assortment of various percussive hand instruments.
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Well, let me say I am aurally satisfied. “Declarations” is like a gourmet of tasty melodies, served up perfectly for your ears, and totally digested by your soul. The Peripherals stand in stark contrast to much of today’s music; that which is manufactured for fleeting infatuations of riches, egos and facades. The true beauty here is in the simplicity of the tunes, perfectly delivered for an insatiable culture, overwhelmed by the plethora of musical divergence at its fingertips, and practically begging for a return to its traditional roots.
From Dylan’s tribal-like percussion to the haunting backdrop of Omars’s mandolin and piano, to Andrew’s unparalleled vocals and guitar strumming; these three musicians blend their talents together perfectly. Of course there will be stand-out tracks, like “Living Tonight”, “Simellé”, “Life In The Light”, “Psychic Alcoholic”, “Should I Ever” and “Cannonballman”, but I recommend the album as a collective whole.
“Declarations” really gets back to the roots of rock. Its organic feel is fresh and moves away from the same sound we’ve been hearing for years in indie and alternative rock. The Peripherals sing with conviction and emotion. Passion infuses their songs, regardless of being catchy or heart-wrenching. The trio also has a gift for crafting instantly engaging melodies, which never grow stale after repeated listens. As simple as the music is, it resonates emotionally so that it continues to captivate and inspire.
My first impulse was to compare them with the Avett Brothers or Mumford and Sons, as they are driven by the same rootsy acoustic folk-rock sound, but The Peripherals possess their own story, their own authenticity, and speak to audiences with sincerity. They’re not afraid to do something that’s already been done; they just make it so damn good, that it’s worth listening to!
“Declarations” is powerfully lyrical and melodious. It brings out the true musicality of the instruments, the lyrics, and the vocal ability of the band. The Peripherals is one of those rare bands that you love on the very first listen!
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