Peter Ivers / Peter Ivers' Band

Peter Ivers

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Being that it was his third album -- or fourth if you count the then unreleased Take It Out on Me -- the self-titling of this 1976 full-length is puzzling, but it might be a hint that this a loose "solo" effort and not as focused as Peter Ivers' previous release Terminal Love, credited to the Peter Peter Ivers Band. If Terminal Love cast him as the leader of an urgent and important proto-punk unit with strange ideas, Peter Ivers the album shifts the focus to Peter Ivers the quirky yet comfortable songwriter. This time out, oddball concepts are snuck into the mainstream bar rock Ivers loved so much, along with some other genres like the tight reggae of "Eighteen and Dreaming." The song is a dreamy, nostalgic look back at a time that wasn't so jaded and it's surprisingly sincere, as is the lovelorn ballad "You Used to Be Stevie Wonder" ("I was the Magnavox"). Elsewhere he's wintering in a town called Sorrow, using girl group arrangements for his backup singers, and employing all other romantic ideas that seem in opposition to the later, deliberately obnoxious Ivers that most know from his hosting the cable television show New Wave Theater. Fans of his years in punk will also be surprised by the arena rock and AOR names -- Steve Porcaro, Waddy Wachtel, Gary Wright, and even Carly Simon -- that contribute to the album but a title like "Rock and Roll Embarrassment" plus the lyric "I got the fever the desert demanded" show he's ready to embrace the coming revolution. Here, he's preparing for it by helping to dismantle his beloved pop music with what his friend Harold Ramis called "Ivers' nice kind of ironic."

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