The cover of Peru's debut EP Ordinary People is a rendered pineapple, the delicious prize of the Caribbean that came to denote hospitality sometime during the 17th century. You may have seen a doorknocker in the fruit's shape, a sign of welcome "[b]ecause trade routes between America and Caribbean islands were often slow and perilous [and] it was considered a significant achievement for a host to procure a ripe pineapple for guests." Or maybe they're big SpongeBob fans.
Ordinary People is a welcoming seven tracks, often peppered with vintage-style horns and piano, perhaps a bit of Billy Joel ingrained in the trio's Long Island DNA. "Hey Hey Alright" opens the record in Fitz and the Tantrums fashion, its retro swing and shoutable chorus setting the mood for a pleasant ride, while "Forever" has singer Michael Desmond dipping into baritone the way Fiona Apple might. The trio, rounded out by drummer Jay Scalchunes and bassist Tom Costa, has no problem taking its time with these songs, favoring the slow and perilous route over the brutish immediacy so often found in the current musical climate.
"I Need You" finds the band sounding like a More Adventurous Rilo Kiley, and with the song's uncomplicated lyrics ("I need you / more than anything else in the world / I need you") I wouldn't be surprised if it becomes a rom-com trailer staple. Your move, Zach Braff.
Produced predominantly by Dan Gluszak, Ordinary People is an inviting and warm listen (that pineapple vibe again). Motown touches abound, but Peru doesn't shy away from some overt cheese (muted trumpets, piano flourishes, scatting) and the album's closing tracks sound closer to Bread, Paul Simon and a less bombastic Chicago than whatever rock n' roll is supposed to sound like these days. I say bring on that cheese.