12 Songs, 41 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Who is this masked man? Even in the age of online oversharing and social media data trails, the mysterious Toronto-based cowboy crooner Orville Peck has done as good a job of concealing his backstory as he has of shrouding his visage. But Peck’s flamboyant update of the archetypal outlaw look is the perfect advertisement for a debut album that puts its own subversive spin on old-school country and early rock ’n’ roll. Peck has clearly spent many a late, lonesome night studying the classics, an education that’s blessed him with a rich, sonorous voice that can slide effortlessly between a sweet ’n’ low Elvis-like quaver and angelic Roy Orbison-esque ascensions. But a closer listen reveals the scuffs on Pony’s pristine retro facade—“Kansas (Remembers Me Now)” may sashay in like the sort of prom night slow-dance serenade you’d hear beaming out of a radio in 1962, but it dissolves into a dark cloud of static that reinforces the impossibility of reliving the past. And with the twangy torch songs “Big Sky” and “Dead of Night,” Peck reframes traditional country-songwriting tropes around tender tales of homoerotic desire. Orville Peck may not want to show you his face, but he’s clearly unafraid to open his heart.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Who is this masked man? Even in the age of online oversharing and social media data trails, the mysterious Toronto-based cowboy crooner Orville Peck has done as good a job of concealing his backstory as he has of shrouding his visage. But Peck’s flamboyant update of the archetypal outlaw look is the perfect advertisement for a debut album that puts its own subversive spin on old-school country and early rock ’n’ roll. Peck has clearly spent many a late, lonesome night studying the classics, an education that’s blessed him with a rich, sonorous voice that can slide effortlessly between a sweet ’n’ low Elvis-like quaver and angelic Roy Orbison-esque ascensions. But a closer listen reveals the scuffs on Pony’s pristine retro facade—“Kansas (Remembers Me Now)” may sashay in like the sort of prom night slow-dance serenade you’d hear beaming out of a radio in 1962, but it dissolves into a dark cloud of static that reinforces the impossibility of reliving the past. And with the twangy torch songs “Big Sky” and “Dead of Night,” Peck reframes traditional country-songwriting tropes around tender tales of homoerotic desire. Orville Peck may not want to show you his face, but he’s clearly unafraid to open his heart.

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