by guest contributor Dana Silverman
We can safely call summer complete now that one of the season’s best songs has arrived. With touches of rock and roll, blues, soul, and a dash of the fuck you Riot Grrrl spirit of the 1990s, Beck Pete’s “Gently Break It” introduces an exciting new musical voice.
A one-note intro riff and driving beat backbone inspire the Riot Grrrl comparison, as they harken back to a minimalist era of where an aggressive guitar and a powerful voice were all you needed to set the tone for a track, and often transcended the music itself. That’s not to say the music is one-dimensional; it’s anything but, as layers of sound unfold to keep the ears pleasantly surprised. Joe Laporta and Ryan Gilligan’s production work is top-notch. Every element–from the lurking bass to the varying guitar tones that extend the range and depth of the song–has a distinct presence and moves the song forward without overpowering other components.
Beck Pete’s singing deserves special mention. The L.A. songstress opens with the sultry whisper of a modern incarnation of Peggy Lee, but when she begins to belt in the chorus, all comparisons fall short. Here, we’re in the presence of a dynamic singer who can sell a song through mood and emotion, but can also take a track to new heights with vocal talent. Listen a few times to Beck Pete’s angelic harmonies and you’ll be convinced she’s the new priestess of blues, rock and roll, or whatever genres she decides to tackle next.