Pete Price Releases “The Department of the Interior”

For a man who has been recording music for thirty years, Pete Price is only now approaching the concept of releasing a solo record. He’s been busy, which is understandable, but after hearing and digging into The Department of the Interior, you almost wish he had gotten to it a little sooner! You’ve gotta trust the process, though, and I believe that there’s something crucial to giving the album time to fully cook — now out, Price’s debut record feels primed for fans of classic rock looking to scratch a modern itch. All twelve tracks deal in various areas of the genre, summoning everyone from Neil Young and Paul McCartney to Jackson Browne in their styles and sounds, and as far as debut records go, Pete Price is dealing with a great one.

Though it is a solo record, Pete Price got help from the Price Brothers. The band is comprised of Casey Davis on lead guitar, Steve Phelps on drums and vocals, Matt Scholp on bass and vocals, Jeff Tutt on keyboards and vocals, and Price on guitar and vocals — this is the group that will take the record out on tour. There’s a wide variety of tracks on The Department of the Interior, and none of them fail to live up to the hype. “Diamonds in the Sky” is a fantastic opening track as it sullenly sees Price reflect on his time spent wandering as a youth. The song is chock full of brilliant guitar work, and extraordinary prose, and puts itself up as a perfect choice to open the record up.

“The Crossing” gets listeners into more of a groove as a fiddle and toms give the track a danceable rhythm — Price’s vocals feel refreshing and rejuvenated, changing up his vocal delivery throughout. “Before I Go” is a track some might know from James Mills, as Price and Mills wrote it together in 2020; this release sees Price’s take on it, and it’s a beautiful third track that adds yet another layer of emotions to The Department… In other cases, some might have tripled down on another rock-heavy track, but Price zigs when we think he’ll zag. “Common Ground” is a political anthem meant to call out in protest, and some audience members might find themselves ruffled by it — that’s the point, and we should all do better to come together, Price hopes.

The record is full of highlights, with “Taste of Freedom” giving the album a dose of jazzy, blues-driven sax riffs; “Old Movies and You” tackles the hard concept of losing someone, and dealing with the stages of grief in the midst of what feels like the end of everything. “Legacy of Love” is a great, jazzy tune with some of the album’s best guitar work, peeling back the electric layers for something more restrained.

Pete Price is by no means a newcomer, which is to say that while this is a debut record from his solo career, we shouldn’t see him on the same scale as novice musicians. Even by holding him to a high standard, Price manages to surpass all expectations by giving listeners an incredible record full of a whirlwind of emotions and subgenres. The Department of the Interior proves itself as a substantial first stepping stone for this new chapter of Price’s career, and what comes next will certainly be just as great, if not better.

Nicole Killian

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Nicole loves to go cross country skiing, swimming, reading and critiquing books, listening and critiquing music, some culinary arts, pottery, spending time with my daughter, cheesy horror films.

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