Alice Peacock

Who I Am

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In the six years since her debut, singer/songwriter Alice Peacock has gone from her own independent label to the majors. Now she's back on her own Peacock Music, but this time in "cooperation" with major Universal. As a result, the album sounds major-label big but has indie spirit in its heart. There's no calculated John Mayer appearance, no gimmicky production, and no holding back as track after track overflows with soul-searching in plush surroundings. Cynical types can make an argument that the album swoons out of control, but there's no denying Peacock's vision or her ability to write sweet heartwarmers and sweeter heartbreakers. Sentimental, wistful, and searching for a noble way to let go of a relationship, the opening "Different from the Rest" is an "I Hope You Dance"-sized ballad that perfectly sets the stage for what's going to be a bittersweet relationship-themed album. Less grand yet just as touching are the sparse, almost cabaret-sounding "Time" and the slowly simmering "Taught Me Well," which is gutsy enough to bring to mind Sheryl Crow, maybe even Sophie B. Hawkins. The uplifting "Sunflower" revives some of the Beatles-like arrangements of her 2002 self-titled effort, but most of the tracks are a more earthy kind of lush with producer Andrew Williams supporting Peacock's piano and vocals with acoustic guitars and plenty of strings. Peacock is perfectly comfortable in these surroundings, and if she overindulges in romance and regret a bit, fans who have gone four years without an album aren't going to mind it at all.

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