Peyoti for President
Rising Tide of Conformity (2009)
Rising Tide of Conformity, the debut album from the [wiki:London] based band, Peyoti for President, delivers Protest Songs with a Tropicalismo and Worldbeat backdrop. A musical and lyrical manifesto, for those disillusioned with a creeping corporate world that in turn fuels the dog eat dog and “I’m so beautiful I’m worth it” consumerist and dehumanizing society we find ourselves. Peyoti for President is a band but also a very credible candidate that has what it takes to win the hearts and minds of the voters.
A montage of sounds makes a genius start to what unfolds to be an energetic and thoroughly entertaining album. A loudly ticking clock, warning siren, [wiki:surdo] bass drum kicks in and we begin to get excited as the crowds start cheering and we’re off. Against a backdrop of Tropicalismo and world beats, Peyoti for President picks up his guitar to strum and sing strumming and singing his way around the world. He sounds not too dissimilar to Jack Sparrow, of Black and Gold renown, as he reminds Mr. Sleaze politicians just who they really work for in ‘Take A Leap’.
These days, no political rally or demonstration worth its salt, is complete without a samba batteria to boost its spirit of resistance. It is no surprise therefore, to hear the familiar whistle and percussion put to good use in the infectious carnivalesque track, “We the People” which could be the soundtrack to any Stop the City or G20 demo. Dance in the streets, learn
the lyrics and sing along.
As the Peyoti campaign wheels around the globe urging us to “see the world outside you”, it becomes apparent that their music, whilst having a strong Brazilian and Worldbeats input, is actually difficult to pin down to any particular genre. Take for example ‘Drifting’ which starts off in a gypsy flamenco style then somehow moves across bossa nova, Spaghetti Western Mexicana and back again. In fact the whole album rolls along like this, switching styles, where tracks are punctuated with vocal stabs urging you to vote for Peyoti. Sound clips of politicians are part of the mix and some vocals are delivered through what sounds like old fifties microphones or megaphones.
The montage of sounds, music and wisdom all contribute to the feeling of listening to a radio broadcast by Peyoti for President whose checkout track, takes on yet another feel and gives the album a spiritual edge. ‘Survival of the Fittest’ wakes up on the other side, in the Age of Aquarius to the sound of sitars, gospel choirs and psychedelic pop, where war is a thing of the past and governments no longer sedate the nation to drive the economy. The world is at last one.
The album is entertaining from start, middle to finish with high energy music, complex layers and thoughtful lyrics that may not all be apparent on first listening. Peyoti for President pulls it off and this has every chance of being the soundtrack of 2009. The year in which greedy bankers and self interested politicians have been exposed and the corporate alternative is another summer of so-called reality television.
‘Wake Up Rise Up’ is a straight up guitar and vocal track which declares that we have a choice to be part of a long overdue 21st century uprising or sit back, relax and be controlled by television. The lyrics demystify the album title, taken from the 1964 Daniel Kramer photograph of Joan Baez and Bob Dylan standing in front of a poster, Protest – The Rising Tide of Conformity, and, as Peyoti says, in “2009 it has never been more relevant.”
Buy the recording: Rising Tide of Conformity
Author: Jill Turner
Jill Turner contributes to Songlines Magazine, World Music Central and is on the fRoots critics albums of the year panel. Her radio show GondwanaSound broadcasts on Sheffield Live! 93.2FM to the fourth largest city in the UK and is carried on both Radio Groovalizacion and African Internet Radio.