David Peel

War and Anarchy

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For this 1994 album, David Peel returned to his roots, releasing what amounted to an audio newspaper, built on then-recent events such as the Los Angeles riots; his singing style is no more sophisticated than it ever was, but the playing is surprisingly deft and solid, with a suitably jagged punk-influenced guitar part on "Riot in America," and similar flourishes throughout. "Riot Rock" is strangely spellbinding in its mix of rage, nostalgia, and travelogue, and displays a crude but compelling honesty in its mix of amateurish vocalizing and solid music-making; and it hardly matters that it's a thematic repeat of the preceding track. One begins here to understand the modern appeal of Peel's work: in the early '70s he was a novelty act, but he was willing to express anger and rage in unbridled terms yet, in a manner better than a lot of more celebrated bands, turns it into something hypnotically compelling with just the right musical trimmings.

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