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Peek & Poke

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Album Review

Peek & Poke is a disappointment after the charming, melodic joys of Women in Technology. From the unattractive sleeve to the generic beats to the monotone singing that litters most of the songs, the entire affair lacks focus and energy. Starting off with a retread of the title song from the Another Lover EP, the album reaches for few highs and rarely picks up enough pop steam to be of interest. Where Women in Technology seemed like a technicolor kaleidoscope, Peek & Poke feels like an amateur imitation of Stephin Merritt. Though many of the songs are built on clever lyrics, Jyoti Mishra delivers his vocals with such limp enthusiasm that the songs fall flat and suggest self-mimicry. Botched harmonies, a lack of passion, and cliched motifs such as haunted house and church organ sound effects are symbolic of the tinny production and poorly arranged songs. What's really telling is that the best songs are those that are uncharacteristic for Mishra. "In My Head" is a sad, touching ballad featuring a gentle acoustic guitar. "Bunny Boiler" is a rock rave-up and a minor gem that approaches a punk sound. Other than these points of departure, Mishra barely manages to hold his head above water as he treads around the tired style he once mastered. From a new artist, the mistakes of Peek & Poke might be considered charming, but here it signals that it's time for Mishra to learn some new tricks.


Formed: 1989 in London, England

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The "band" White Town consists of Jyoti Mishra, who writes and records the music almost entirely on his own, with occasional help from other musicians. Although best -- in fact, almost entirely -- known for the fluke 1997 hit "Your Woman," White Town's mix of musical, political, and social influences makes Mishra one of the more intriguing, although frustratingly inconsistent, musicians in '90s indie pop. Mishra was born in Rourkela, India, on July 30, 1966; his family emigrated to England when...
Full bio
Peek & Poke, White Town
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