Pepper – ‘Pepper’

“The songs on ‘Pepper’ are not particularly complicated either musically or lyrically, but I feel like it is for the best. In fact, the simplicity adds to the appeal. Who wants to have complicated music as beach music?”

Sarah Weitman

7
out of 10

Pepper
Pepper
July 16th, 2013
LAW Records

Pepper was formed in 1997, when all the current band members were living in Kailua Kona, Hawaii. The three piece band is made up of guitarist/vocalist Kaleo Wassman, bassist/vocalist Bret Bollinger and drummer Yesod Williams. It’s sixteen years later and they are releasing  their self-titled, sixth studio album. After their last studio album in 2008, they spent time touring with Less than Jake, Slightly Stoopid, 311 and The Offspring. In 2010, they released the Stitches EP, which inspired them to write again. The three years between albums has paid off.

They may have moved to the mainland in 1999, but they have managed to keep their Hawaiian roots alive in their music. The songs on Pepper are not particularly complicated either musically or lyrically, but I feel like it is for the best. In fact, the simplicity adds to the appeal. Who wants to have complicated music as beach music?

Opening with “Deep Country,” one of my favorites, and “FKARND,” the stage is set for an album that is all about having a good time (and in the case of these two songs, a good time with attractive ladies). Both these songs, and the following “These Hands,” give off a country/rock sound that I began expecting from the whole album. This is in part because I began listening before learning more about the band. This lead to a (delightful) surprise at “Higher Ground,” the first song on this album where their self-described “rock-injected reggae” makes its appearance. They keep this sound going with “Hunny Girl,” “Push,” “Come and Get Me,” “Don’t You Know” and “Illuminate.”

I think my favorite song off Pepper is “It Was You.” It has the same reggae/rock sound as the majority of the album, but there’s something strange about it that I really like. I’m not sure if it’s because the vocals are sung at a Bob Marley-esque reggae pace, while the accompanying guitar and drums are played slightly uptempo. It’s almost like the music should be slower to match up with the vocals, but I know I wouldn’t like it as much if that were done.

The only problem I had with this album was that “POYL” seemed like a misplaced song. It wasn’t that the song itself was bad, but rather than giving off the same country or island vibe as the other songs, I felt like the radio station had been changed on me.

Summer is the perfect release time for Pepper. I can’t wait to have a copy of it and take a trip to the beach with friends and this playing in the car. Pepper is released on July 16th via LAW Records, with a supporting tour planned later this summer.