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Peter Dayton

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Album Review

Boston music fans lament the late punk power trio La Peste, but much more enjoyable to many fans' ears was original frontman Peter Dayton's pop music, as encouraged by the Cars' leader Ric Ocasek and scenester Digney Dignus — before the manager morphed into his singer incarnation as Digney Fignus. Smash Easy, the Bethel, Maryland-based label, collects 14 of Dayton's works, has venerable engineer Ted St. Pierre digitally remaster the material, and a true gift to fans of New England music finds its way to the world-wide marketplace. Flower images from the songwriter's website are utilized on the front cover, while inside, his classic composition "Last Supper" sees re-release. As released on Richard Perry's Planet Records label in 1980, it was one of two tracks on the Sharp Cuts compilation to be produced by Ric Ocasek. "Last Supper" closes out this CD debut of Peter Dayton with 13 other performances — including the entire Love at First Sight EP with its catchy title track as well as the mesmerizing "Stuck on the Same Refrain" and a solo reworking of "Skin Tight" from his La Peste repertoire. Rather than emulate the riveting La Peste spitfire vocal approach, Dayton does a 180 and sounds like Lou Reed circa his 1972 solo album debut. Years later, the eponymous Peter Dayton disc actually sounds like a sequel to Reed's first solo LP! Sure, "Perfect Wave" with its Ventures-meets-the Surfaris-meets-the Cramps will throw you for a loop, as will the highly experimental "Orchids & Gold," which is more like an outtake from the Velvet Underground's VU. Come to think of it, that's where "Last Supper" sounds like it comes from, too, Ric Ocasek being a total devotee of Reed as well when he's not in his Ocasek/Cars frontman mode. Mike Baker of Boston's the Rings also contributes production work and on CD, all of this material survives quite well and is compelling far beyond its obscurity.

Peter Dayton, Peter Dayton
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