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ALBUM REVIEW: Orville Peck – Bronco

ORVILLE PECK

BRONCO

COLUMBIA / SONY MUSIC

From the heralded release of his debut album Pony in 2019, through a pandemic, fashion shoots and onto a major label deal with Columbia, Orville Peck’s ascent has been a meteoric one. He’s skilfully navigated the worlds of Americana, country and pop to create a unique modern day star. But can he back up the promise and success of his debut on the songwriting front?

On Bronco Peck shows he’s clearly not a one-trick pony. He’s taken the essence of his musical style – a glittery and dramatic blend of Chris Isaak, kd lang, Elvis and Roy Orbison – and taken it widescreen, from the local cinema to the IMAX. The gestures are wider and grander yet his writing is more relaxed and heartfelt on Bronco. Whether it’s a straight diva ballad (‘All I Can Say’), the big twang rock of ‘Daytona Sand’ or the mid-tempo country strum of ‘Outta Time’, Peck runs them all through a pop-rock filter guaranteeing a wide audience. There are hooks aplenty, noir drama and big riffs but it’s Peck’s impressive and commanding voice that wins the day, whether it’s soaring high, channelling low-riding menace or threading self-aware humour through his songs. 

He could have comfortably culled a few tracks from this near hour long album and made it more concise but that’s a minor quibble. If Pony felt like an introduction then Bronco is a celebration of the enigma that is Orville Peck.

CHRIS FAMILTON

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