Peter McDermott / One Big Picture Show
RIYL: Boys Like Girls, Butch Walker, The Damnwells
Peter McDermott sounds like he’s having the time of his life. His liver, on the other hand… well, it only takes about half a listen through album opener/standout track “Life of the Party” to realize that particular organ may not be having so much fun.
That song in particular, however, is quite the anthem. A celebratory declaration that sounds like it would be the life of the party itself. But, during its four minutes of rousing, infectious pop/rock, I somehow found myself feeling increasingly sadder and sadder. And that’s probably the point – “hey, I’ve been through some shit, but I’m going to have the time of my life, no matter the cost, in spite of it all.” It’s an anthem for those who can’t find the strength or motivation to properly deal with certain things on their own. In that sense alone, the song is incredible. It’s not easy capturing such conflicting emotions in such a short amount of time, but McDermott really manages to pass that along to the listener in the midst of some mighty fine music.
Unfortunately, immediately thereafter is where the EP hits its low point. “Listen, Emily,” if I’m being honest, is quite bland. The song comes off as lazy in a sea of five other tracks that come off as anything but. It’s not a terrible song; it’s just forgettable and poorly placed.
As a whole, One Big Picture Show crosses over multiple genre lines without ever feeling strange. It evokes sensibilities from Boys Like Girls’ fantastic 2006 debut. The songs are catchy, sometimes a bit understated (which isn’t a bad thing in today’s overproduced world), and rife with plenty of specific narrative I just so happen to be a sucker for. McDermott certainly knows his way around a pop song, and there’s plenty in these six songs to prove that, whether it be the all-too-brief bridge in “Who’s Gonna Love You?” which gets so close to prog it’s actually impressive, or the undeniably sunny guitar lead in album closer “The Cure That I Need.” It’s a great first glimpse into an artist setting himself up to be the life of the party. Let’s just hope he takes better care of his liver along the way.