Peter Walker

Young Gravity

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Whether L.A.'s Peter Walker has heard of the New Jersey bedroom pop phenom East River Pipe is anybody's guess, but several of the tracks on his sophomore effort, Young Gravity, wouldn't seem out of place on a Pipe disc. These are bright, tightly coiled songs that only partially mask a deep-seated gloominess. They're melodic but morose. But it's hardly an unlikable combination -- just ask Mark Oliver Everett, aka Eels, whom Walker also sometimes calls to mind. "39 Stars," the best song on the disc, is a tribute to a friend who died young; the title track, meanwhile, lands listeners alone in a stark and sterile hospital room. By the time "By a Thread," another excellently ruminative and dark-edged track, rolls around, there can be no mistaking Walker's proclivity for songs that speak loudest to Paxil takers. It's a measure of his considerable talent, then, that even the sunniest of indie rock enthusiasts will add Young Gravity to their keeper stacks. Blinks of Jayhawk-ian smoothness seal Walker's sound; through all his troubles, his guitar occasionally soars, and so do his pleasingly reedy pipes. Count on him to capture the attention of Rhett Miller, Son Volt, and Wilco fans as well as East River Pipe diehards.

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