The first album Greta Gertler recorded with her chamber pop group, Peccadillo, featuring Lara Goodridge (violin), Peter Hollo (cello), Joy Howard (guitar) and Nik Glass (drums). With a production budget of $700, this was initially a demo that turned into an album. It features the song 'Dwell' which was later adapted by Tim Freemdan and became a classic rock hit in Australia, called 'Blow Up the Pokies'. Coming from a strictly classical music background, but wanting to connect with the local live music scene in Sydney in the mid-90s, Greta's goal in forming this band was to fuse pop and classical influences in a relevant and fun way. Several of the other band members came from similar musical backgrounds, and also grew up in the same part of Sydney, Australia. This album, although modestly produced, launched Greta's career as a songwriter and performing artist. PRESS ABOUT PECCADILLO/'LITTLE SINS': Sydney Morning Herald 'The Soft Sound of Sydney: Sinful Pleasures' - by Richard Jinman, 1997 It started, explains Peccadillo's piano-playing vocalist Greta Gertler, as a merger of Tori Amos and a string quartet. Then the sequined spectre of Gertler's hero, Peter Allen, made it's presence felt and the band's sound took another turn. 'Oh, he's fantastic,' she says widening her eyes. 'As I've got more into performing I've noticed a cabaret streak coming through. I can't help it, it's just possessing me.' Not that fans of Tenterfield's bi-coastal son will necessarily feel an immediate affinity with the songs on Peccadillo's debut album, 'Little Sins' (geddit?). Sure, they're piano-driven, highly melodic and soaked in strings, but the immediate resemblance is to David Bridie's My Friend the Chocolate Cake. Gertler, who formed the five-piece band two years ago, acknowledges the debt. She calls the sound 'chamber pop'. 'I just wanted to take classical instruments and fuse them with pop,' she explains. 'It's an experiment that seems to be working.' Indeed it is. With Gertler's piano and feisty vocals supported by violin, cello, guitar and drums, the band creates bright, pop soundscapes. Gertler says their classical backgrounds - cellist Peter Hollo is studying at the Sydney Conservatorium and their only guitarist, Joy Howard, is 'a pure pop star' having played in The Whippersnappers - is actually a plus in the quest for original pop. 'When I'm playing, the shapes my hands fall into are very classical shapes because of the years spent playing Beethoven sonatas,' she says. Beethoven, pop? If it conjures up scary images of Emerson, Lake and Palmer, fear not. 'The music that interests me is more than three-chord pop songs, but I don't get intellectual about songwriting,' she says reassuringly. 'And I like three-chord pop songs too.' Well, ok then. BEAT MAGAZINE Album Review - by Tim Brothers Peccadillo: 'Little Sins' Ah, the perks of this job. Left to myself, I'd probably be listening to the latest overhyped and underworked rock 'sensation' to hit our post-Seattle radio waves (is anyone from No Doubt reading?) Occasionally, however, in the name of reviewing I am forced to take in a little known band, which I would normally never even encounter, only to discover a veritable treasure trove of underground gems. Little Sins is such a revelation. This CD is the debut release for Peccadillo and as such is completely financed and promoted by the band themselves. Hence, it isn't too surprising to find a fresh, unjaded approach which never loses out to commercial motives as opposed to retaining a kind of artistic vision. And then some, for this is the first step in the world of 'chamber pop', a world inhabited only by vocals, piano, strings and the odd percussion. No guitars, no sequencers. No distortion pedals, no weird samples off the radio, not even the obligatory sitar track. This music proves that extraneous equipment isn't necessary to build a captivating mood, or even to bend genres. And somehow, it is this simplicity, this daring minimalism that gives Little Sins the edge over it's more frilly, uselessly complex cousins. While track one, 'When Desire's Gone', is light breezy violin pop, the disk is given to predominantly sparse, brooding arrangements. 'Dwell' is such as song: this APRA competition favourite being just the right mix of passion and introspection make anyone want to take up cello on the spot. Meanwhile, 'Wedding Song' forms the palette on which the band experiment with traditional Jewish folk structures and 'Fishy Song' exudes such bouncy naivety that the lines 'Against the tree, we had sex until three/and then went home for tea; it was Bushells', sound like a Dr Seuss book set to music. If this is what they're capable of now, imagine what they could do with money!
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