In Ampeater’s Words: Like one might expect from the title, Passenger Peru’s “Heavy Drugs” comes on hard. But after the low-bitrate drumbeat crunch gets swept up in a vortex of lush arpeggios, we’re reminded that the heaviest drugs aren’t always amphetamines and can creep up on you throughout the trip. While this track isn’t quite sure whether it wants to be an upper, downer, or hallucinogen, it has an undeniable power to destabilize and to draw the listener outside of the normal world.
Passenger Peru’s self-titled debut demonstrates exceptional attention to composition and structure. Most tracks revolve around several distinct themes, which the band rehashes or piles together to create a sense of progress. The product is full of intrigue and surprise, but it seldom comes across as random. Passenger Peru’s compositions feel somehow scientific in their approach, with each unexpected turn premeditated and even engineered. It’s a formula that works well for an artist whose chief concern seems to be the washout of genuine emotion in a digital world. Passenger Peru offers a bleak glimpse of a dystopian present, through which Stiver’s smooth and distant voice whispers to the drugged listener that it might be time to sober up.
In The Artist’s Words:
Passenger Peru was born out of necessity: the necessity to be creative in a rapidly uncreative world, the necessity to make music we want to hear, the necessity to live. And we find it very necessary (like Salt-n-Pepa) to do everything ourselves, from recording to mixing to the promotion and release of our music. Maybe it’s because we’re inspired by the likes of Fugazi and Deerhoof and want to have total control of all our output, or maybe we don’t want to owe anything to anyone other than ourselves.