Vanessa Peters & Ice Cream on Mondays
Vanessa Peters is a singer/songwriter with a band. While that might not seem like an exciting description, there’s a huge difference when a solo female artist — or any solo artist, actually — has a solid group of musicians with her. Suddenly the songs sound like they have some weight to them; it isn’t just somebody blandly strumming a guitar. (The worst ones are those backed by drum machines.) Whether or not Ice Cream on Mondays will become household names like the New Bohemians remains to be seen; all that matters right now is that they give more power, musically speaking, to these tracks.
All ears will set upon Peters’ lyrics first. Peters’ words have fractured arrangements; they are bits and pieces which add up to a whole. At times, she can be as edgy and black as the late Sylvia Plath. On “Fireworks” Peters sings, “Well, I can take your picture down now and put up new ones of happier times/ And not be afraid of your angry ghost/ With its face like sucked limes.” Such cutting bitterness isn’t depressing but cathartic. You can relate to Peters once you’ve solved the mysteries of her words, and it doesn’t take English 102 to comprehend.
Despite the introspective quality of the lyrics, Peters’ songs are very accessible to commercial radio; the title track has upbeat jangly guitar hooks and “Amelia” has memorable, toe-tapping riffs. Country flavors sneak in here and there, such as on “Fireworks,” giving the record more variety and unexpected spice.
Vanessa Peters: www.vanessapeters.com