Proud Peasant — Cosmic Sound
(Fruits de Mer crustacean 70, 2016, 7")
by Henry Schneider, Published 2016-03-12
Back when I interviewed Proud Peasant’s frontman Xander Rapstine in July 2014, he mentioned his love for Krautrock, especially Eloy, and also Manfred Mann’s Earthband. During the interview I immediately recognized that Proud Peasant needed to appear on Fruits de Mer. I introduced Xander to Keith Jones and roughly 18 months later their first vinyl release is part of FdM’s April singles batch. For their FdM debut, Xander chose to cover Eloy’s “Daybreak” and Manfred Mann’s “Saturn, Lord of the Ring / Mercury, The Winged Messenger.” As a bit of history, Eloy released two different versions of “Daybreak.” The first version was the B-side of “Walk Alone” released in 1970 and included as a bonus track on the reissue of their debut album. Then they released a second version of “Daybreak” b/w “On the Road” in 1972. This second version was included as a bonus track on the reissue of their second album, Inside. It is this second version that Proud Peasant covers on their single. Proud Peasant performs a brilliant cover that out-Krautrocks Eloy! They bring warmth to the music that Eloy did not have and it sounds like the band had a lot of fun covering the song. On the flip side, Proud Peasant shows a different side musically. They’ve taken Manfred Mann’s original and reinterpreted it from a more jazzy and blue perspective. Xander’s lead guitar is impeccable. On the “Mercury” portion of the instrumental they experiment with different cosmic guitar effects much like what happened in the 60s. Plus the arrangement is very tight. If you just listened to the disc in its entirety without any other information you would never guess that this disc was recorded in Austin, TX in 2015. Proud Peasant continues to mature as a band and they are headed into the studio this summer to record their next full length album, which is sure to please all of their new fans.
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