Label: Columbia Records
Released: 8th April 2022
Everyone’s favourite rootinest, tootinest masked cowboy is back. This time he’s more open than a prairie on a hot summer’s day, readying the campfire stories of the life he’s been living.
Having been drip-feeding pieces – or chapters – of his follow up to 2019’s ‘Pony’, ‘Bronco’ picks up where its predecessor left off. The rollicking ‘Daytona Sand’ gallops into view, before relinquishing the pace up and settling in for a long canter through Orville’s im(Peck)able storytelling. Once again he effortlessly paints visions of the lonesome, the lost, the forgotten and all the feelings that tie those states together, with a toothpick toting grin (extra marks for “She tells me she don’t like Elvis, I say I want a little less conversation please,” on ‘Outta Time’).
There was always going to be a bit of trepidation to Orville’s return since country can be a one-trick pony (geddit?), but instead of letting such thoughts trouble him, instead, he leans into those tropes that make country so gosh dang irresistible without settling for the same ol’. Bringing his characters to life with rich melodies and harmonies lush enough to bring life to the barest of deserts, the hurried moments drive ‘Bronco’ forward while those that settle into the sand allow the feelings to wash over like the dawning sun.
Orville Peck remains a curious figure, and not just thanks to his clandestine ways. He’s able to convey with the simplest touch a wealth of feeling as if he’s reaching deep inside your heart and it’s you he’s bringing to life, but as easily as he does this, he leaves you in the cold of night wanting more.