Someone must have hurt Graeme Peters really badly because he’s gone completely emo on us.
Emo, for those of you unfamiliar with punk subgenres, is about reaching into your own chest and tearing out the aching heart inside and showing everyone how broken it is. Plus you can dance to it.
With Speed Control’s new CD, The A.D.D. Sides, Peters, the one-time drummer in jazz bands The Peters-Drury Quartet and New Orleans North, the screamo/post-hardcore Friend Called Five, and performer in the ever-popular Frantic Follies, is now thrashing an electric guitar, singing of his heartache.
It’s the real thing. Peters skips all of the affectations of emo-culture. He doesn’t have the black clothing and the eye-obscuring devil-lock (think My Chemical Romance and MADtv’s Tickle-Me Emo skit), instead going for a clean-cut, Weezer-inspired look.
And the heartbreak is authentic. A regular jammer at Whitewater Wednesday, Peters shared his hopes and heartbreaks and broken engagements with my partner Peggy Hanifan and me, then debuted songs such as Wherever You Are, Will You Catch Me If I Fall and Die You Evil, alongside his manic-comic versions of Folsom Prison Bluesand Don’t Stop Believin’.
As Speed Control, Peters is joined by his brother Jody Peters on bass and backup vocals, and drummer Spencer Cole. Together, they’ve released their first album, The A.D.D. Sides. Recorded at Old Crow Recording Studio and co-produced by Peters and Bob Hamilton, the album consists of 12 songs, all written by Peters, including four where Peters plays all of the instruments himself.
A drummer at heart and by training (he spent several years studying jazz at University of Toronto), Peters has crafted a dozen pop-punk heartbreak anthems around wild rhythms. Superpop is a great example of this: built on shifting time signatures (and some hints of FC5’s Intro), the vocal and guitar serve to support the frantic drumbeat.
This fast-paced, staccato guitar and drum carry through the rest of the songs, making them equally catchy and appealing, even though the lyrics are often bitter and angsty. Die You Evil will quickly have you singing along, Do you, do you, believe what I say to you? …I’ll never fall for this again.
But the lyrics aren’t all painful. Emo Has Happiness is an optimistic, upbeat song about love at first sight. Her smile is so infectious and I’ve got to kiss those lips, he sings with greatest passion. But this is an emo song, so I have to wonder about the answer to his questions, Does she want this, does she know I feel the same? Cuz I need her and I want her and I hope she feels the same.
Emotionally, I think Peters needs to find a young woman who’ll be nice to him and help him pull himself together again. But artistically, his heartache and angst coupled with his skill and showmanship can take him places and make you forget about posers like Blink-182 and My Chemical Romance.