Some artists depend wholly on outside producers or bandmates for guidance on musical quality control. George Holman, who records introspective indie pop under the moniker The Peacock Affect, is an exception to that rule. Not only is the Exeter, UK-based musician his own harshest critic—he’s discerning about which songs see the light of day.
“I record a lot of songs which never get released, because I don’t feel they’re good enough,” he says. “[But] I look at my own songs, and I change my mind about them. Sometimes, I listen to one of my songs and I go, ‘Oh God, this is awful.’ Then, sometimes, I listen to it and I’ll be like ‘Oh, I love this. I’m so proud of this.’ But that’s just me. When I get sad, I feel like all my songs are rubbish—they aren’t good enough. And then when I’m feeling better, I don’t feel like that too much.” He laughs.
The seven songs on The Peacock Affect’s latest EP, The Rainbow, bear traces of familiar inspirations: ’80s British jangle a la Felt, spare acoustic folk and a hint of ambient dreampop. However, in Holman’s hands, these influences feel new, thanks to impeccable, spacious arrangements that give the music room to breathe. Intimate standouts “Spaceship” and “Untitled #1” boast feathery, morose riffs, while the mournful “Bye” threads distressed piano beneath twinkling guitars. Holman is a versatile vocalist with expressive range; he’ll switch from keening falsetto to a low-register growl, sometimes in the same song (“Spaceship,” “Bye”). The Rainbow feels like a watercolor painting—faded and delicate in some spots, in others, vibrant and strong.