Orville Peck, the gay Canadian cowboy who wears a fringed mask to hide his face, has eclipsed the underground spooky alt-country sound of his debut album, Pony, to release a full-on capital-C Country album. Like all country albums, Bronco has tinges of pop and the album definitely pays homage to the 1960s and 70s stars of the Grand Ole Opry.
While Pony sounded like a whisper between clandestine lovers and a celebration of outsiders, Bronco is expansive and encompassing. The opener, “Daytona Sands,” could be featured in a big-screen Western while the outlaw rides away after holding up the bank. “The Curse of Blackened Eye” would fit in well in Lee Hazlewood’s Cowboy in Sweden. The title song, “Bronco,” is a rip-roaring good time accentuated by Peck’s Elvis-like inflection. “Let Me Down,” a ballad, is for staring across the dance floor longingly if you are alone or swaying with your sweetheart if you're not. Like on Pony (and Perfume Genius’ 2020 release Set My Heart on Fire Immediately), Bronco is haunted by the ghost of Roy Orbison. One of the most refreshing things about Peck and his albums is their unabashed showcasing of same-sex romance, lust and loss. In a genre that can be hostile to its LGBTQ+ stars and fans, Orville Peck is casting a long shadow. - Jami (Downtown)
Bronco on Freegal
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