As a title, Hell Like Heaven serves to explain the clashing contradictions that bring about the joys in The Peggies’ music. The Japanese trio’s buzzing, jagged alt-rock riffs are virtually hot to the touch, while their lyrics deal with the soft, almost cheesy expressions of love — and are delivered by the equally juvenile, yet sincere, vocal of lead singer and guitarist Yuuho Kitazawa. “Kimi No Sei” (Because of You) opens the band’s debut full-length by admitting to be completely transformed under the influence of love, the Peggies zeroing-in on a teenage kind of romance mainly defined by its extremity. Rambunctious garage-rock further amplifies the bursting emotions of Hell Like Heaven: the “whoa-oh-oh” chorus of “Microphone” captures the thrilling relief of finally getting to shout ones feelings out loud, while the spiky riffs of “Kamisama” feel inspired by the heartbeat-quickening rush of wanting to get close to someone. These sprinting songs admittedly burn themselves out — but luckily, the Peggies sequence Hell Like Heaven with mellower tracks in-between, allowing room to breathe. The change of pace is welcome, particularly when it comes to album highlight “Hachimitsu” (Honey), its slow progression capturing the desire to cherish every moment of a loving embrace. This tracks hints at a style the Peggies could explore more later — but if they seem too focused on a single sound for Hell Like Heaven, it works in their favor, as an accurate expression of the intense, obsessive young love which clearly inspires this music.
Published as part of Foreign Correspondent | Issue 3.