Peter McDermott – Album Preview – One Big Picture Show
Being the Lead in Your Own Movie
by: Earl Maldoun
Peter McDermott: a young singer/drummer based in NY that embodies the spirit of the phrase “Long time watcher, first time performer;” grew up embedded in the Long Island music center for his young music life; bounced from one band to the next without a clear direction until his recent launch of his solo career. That’s about all you need know… but why not dive in deeper?
These experiences have allowed him to see the best and the worst that our little splotch of land just beyond NYC has to offer with our eternally churning whirlpool of strong punk, ska, pop and eclectic takes on fusion bands. The good and the bad.
Built into the core of Long island’s music scene is a surprising number of bad habits; the greatest band the world will never see because the singer moved to Canada a week after it formed and they all went their separate ways or quirky; lovable bands that refuse to follow any path of marketing, condemning themselves to a life of obscurity; brotherhoods forming and torn apart on the same day as akin to a Game of Thrones marathon makes the scene more akin to a theater of war than musical growth. Emerging from Long island after so many years, even at a younger age, still the desire to create and perform intact, with any sense of positivity, it sometimes more akin to a haggard hero at a movie’s end than that of a singer.
But you meet equally talented and passionate people who have made it through the same chaotic scene without losing their way and their support and skill help elevate a initial work, offering a foundation built on a camaraderie formed from persevering through similar struggles. McDermott has burned himself one fast trail of experience and built a small group of skilled musicians, including his brother to help bring the first two singles off his upcoming album, One Big Picture Show, a proper polish to them.
The duel songs come off as twin anchors to what the album wants to end and begin with; one poppy, upbeat call out to a lover with “Listen, Emily.” and “Whose Gonna Love You Now,” a morose, generalized anthem to past feelings a person still holds dear. Its surprisingly deep for an early song, especially from the first real project that Peter is attempting for his own career. Both songs share a throaty underscore of string, piano and drums, differed by their pace and rhythmic usage but kept together with a classic four-person sound that fills out in between each chorus. A lyrical mindset that’s comfortable being morose on its recollection as the words ponder over thoughts of love. I would love to see this self-aware writing style brought to bear on more variety of life’s topics and if there is a worry concerning the album’s development, it stems from a worry of an overuse on well-worn ground.
While discovering a new artist, the assumption that whatever “first” project a musician starts with will be this experimental attempt or, at best, a strong stepping point to be vaulted on the journey to something greater. In all honesty, this album has all the potential makings to be a strong, transitory work for McDermott to learn much from and then move onwards, but he showcases a surprising amount of awareness about the process and how much difficulty comes into song crafting and creation that I’m impatient to hear the finished work for something greater at the here and now.
Its impulsive, and not the smartest idea, to call an album’s success over the first two singles but I’ll admit that what he’s done so far has surpassed the cynical Long Islander in me with its skillful focus towards the world and loving another person within it, the hardships and reasons we continue to look afterwards. His eye towards the challenges of the music life and the difficulties awaiting him fills me with the hope that McDermott will be here next week and next year as well. There’s so much more coming for a music fan, one with an ear for pop and color, and youth tempered with a small smidgen of wisdom. A music lover looking for some local flavor to a new year of music.
I don’t know what the final product will be but I’m happy to wait for the result. The good and the bad.