Peter MacDonald is keeping classic, bluesy rock alive in New York. That was clear to me from the opening moments of his latest five-track EP, Nothing. The first track “Punching Bag” is driven by a glitzy, summery electric guitar power chord progression. Atop a huge drum beat, it carries the song — there’s an anthemic quality to the track. I could see MacDonald sculling out a venue with roaring tunes like this one. His silky-smooth vocals help with that too. He can deliver soothing, restrained singing on the verses but also large, booming vocals on the choruses. He’s a performer. That much is clear. You can hear it in his voice, and you can hear it in the face-melting lead guitar solos that he offers towards the end of the track. This is a wonderful rock track.
I was expecting much of the same throughout the EP, but MacDonald surprised me on “Far From Perfect.” Another booming beat, but the core instrumental is driven by atmospheric synths. Clean electric guitar arpeggios serve as more of a backdrop on this funky yet psychedelic ballad. MacDonald’s vocals feel inspired by Depeche Mode at times, and I mean that in the best possible way. On the climactic choruses, his harmonies are stunning — they complement the sliding synths and noodling electric guitar arpeggios. There’s a brilliant combination of funky riffs and heart-wrenching melodies on this song. I love it.
“Trap Star” is a return to his initial classic rock form with another scorching riff, thunderous beat and evocative vocals. The staccato power chord progression almost carries an essence of punk-rock or even pop-punk influence, and I really like this fresh take from MacDonald. It feels like a banger pulled from the late ‘90s or early ‘00s. “Here I Am” continues the pattern of following rock bangers with gentler ballads. I love the acoustic guitar and tender vocals from MacDonald on this one. Great melody as well.
But “I Want To Get Out,” the closing track, is the gem in the track list here. A stunning chord progression on clean electric guitar, a heartfelt vocal melody and powerful singing from MacDonald yet again. What a closer. This EP really showcases MacDonald’s talent, and it definitely intrigues me as to what the future has in store for him.