Gregory Pepper and His Problems With Trumpets Flaring

Gregory Pepper and His ProblemsWith Trumpets Flaring
Gorgeous and glorious, Gregory Pepper is the surprise underground pop find of the year, and With Trumpets Flaring is an astounding display of crafty musicianship. A former member of Montreal's the Dymaxions, Pepper taps into the demented genius/ambition of Brian Wilson for his orchestral pop songs, which are head-scratchingly great. The lo-fi aesthetic of "I Was a John" belies a refined musical mind, one sharp enough to keep many layers of instrumentation straight. "Drop the Plot" traces the textural line between Devo and Sebadoh, while sonic cornerstone "It Must be True" is the purest representation of what the Beach Boys might sound like if their talents peaked in 2009. The endearingly dark "If You Try," a morbidly reassuring suicide shopping list, finds Pepper sounding like a doo-wop-loving sociopath. Yet there's so much light emanating throughout the caverns of With Trumpets Flaring that it's a remarkably bright, faux-naïve pop record that must be heard. (Fake Four Inc.)