Peyton Pinkerton spent the first two decades of his musical career as a longtime member of the respected indie rock group New Radiant Storm King and a guitarist for the Pernice Brothers. His first solo album, 2013's Peyton Pinkerton, sounds a lot what one might expect from a recording made by someone with that pedigree. There's plenty of the peppy tempos, intertwining guitar lines, and plaintive vocals from the New Radiant Storm King side of the equation, plus a firm grasp on writing hooky pop songs with a new wave urgency and tricky vocal harmonies from the Pernice Brothers side. That, plus Pinkerton's nicely deep, deadpan vocals and stellar guitar work, would be enough to make this a very strong debut. There are definitely enough hooky pop songs to make it a very pleasant listen; tracks like "On the Relay" and "Blackout '77" would be good enough to make an album by either of his bands. What makes it a little more interesting than that are the chances he takes with sound and song structure that might challenge the fans of his other work, but ultimately succeed thanks to his skills as a writer and performer. The quirky jazz-prog rock guitars of "The Good for Nothing" and the abrasive guitars and whizzy synths of "The Three of Me" are the sound of someone breaking free of a band format and just experimenting like crazy, but it totally works and the feeling comes close to that of an American version of Field Music. The album doesn't have any drop-dead singles, and could stand to be a little brighter in spots, but it holds together extremely well and shows that Pinkerton has learned plenty from the bands he's played in, and his first solo album is nearly as good as the music he made with them, which is a fine start.
AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra