October 2014 National Music Reviews

Review: Peer Group – Rhetoric and Hands

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Peer Group
Rhetoric and Hands
Water Under the Bridge
Street: 07.01
Peer Group = Saccharine Trust + the Reactionaries + the Minutemen

The recent release of these Peer Group recordings was a long time coming. These songs were recorded in December of 1981 in southern California, making it contemporary to bands like Black Flag and Redd Kross. Stylistically, though, it flirts more with the sound made popular by the Minutemen—sharp, short guitar riffs and spiel thrown over a tight, complementary rhythm section. As it has more of an art school rough draft vibe to it, it’s clear that the band never completely gelled together. Still, these songs are an important testament of what was happening at the fringes of the larger fringe movement that was So-Cal punk rock. Rhetoric and Hands is the complete collection of Peer Group’s recorded output—a single 7” record with five tracks and four more available digitally. This charmingly raw record shows why music from this time and place continues to inspire people today. –James Bennett 

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