Back to Basics ... and Pop Brilliance

Couch Songs (Initial Records)
Peter Searcy

By Kevin Gibson

It's been nearly four years since Louisville's Peter Searcy released the excellent Could You Please and Thank You; I for one have been waiting anxiously. Sadly, that alt-pop album (did I mention it is excellent?) never reached its sales potential because the aptly-named Time Bomb Records self-destructed shortly after its release.

Now Searcy has teamed up with Louisville's own Initial Records, one of the better indie labels anywhere. And he's thrown us a wonderful curve: Couch Songs is a collection of all-acoustic, all-played-by-Searcy, back-to-basics recordings that succeeds simply by being what it is.

I myself was a fan of Could You, but this - this album captivated me immediately. The opening track sets the stage for a wonderfully emotional audio experience. "Rewind" is one of those reasonably simple songs that works because of its honesty. It's a sad song about regret, about the one that got away, about the one we all have in our past somewhere. A sad cello quietly echoes Searcy's pleading vocal throughout as he sings, "I'd do anything, anything/Just to take it back to the start/And try it all over again/So press rewind/And roll back to the start/Rewind for another chance/For another shot/Just to get it right this time."

This beautiful pop song leads the listener into a journey of emotion that includes a couple of re-recorded tracks from his aforementioned solo debut ("Invent," "Nothing" and "Losing Light Fast"). Searcy songs in this light are vaguely McCartney-esque because of the quirky points of view and, of course, the raw emotion that seems to flow so effortlessly. "Graced," for instance, is a buried gem about a lost someone who finally revealed, well, their true colors: "I mistook a moth for a butterfly/I just wanted to try and see the colors one more time in you ... But the colors all ran dry inside of you."

I hear tell he has another album set for limited release only in North Carolina before springing it on the rest of us. So is Couch Songs the throwaway set? Well, in a way.

Actually, the back-story is that Searcy worked up demos songs for his next release in a makeshift home studio, recording his compositions with only an acoustic guitar. The resulting recordings had an undeniable stark honesty that couldn't be denied. So what's coming next, apparently, is another full-band pop/rock collection.

If Couch Songs is merely the foreplay, I can hardly wait for the big event.