When it comes to debut albums done right, Pete Price is a consummate professional. After serving as the lead guitarist of The Fries Band, for the past thirty years, Price has finally struck out on his own to craft an album entirely of his own making, using every trick he’s ever learned along the way. The album, titled The Department of the Interior, is a fantastic tribute to Price’s favorite bands and styles, tapping into years of hard work and hard knocks — it tackles love, loss, spirituality, and life, and is almost certainly exactly what you’ve been looking for from a rock album.
Comprised of twelve tracks, including one originally written with James Mills in 2020 (“Before I Go”), The Department of the Interior is an album that contains multitudes. There are soft songs with “Green Flash,” “Old Movies and You,” and “Foolish Heart” all offering up slow dance picks not to be missed, but there are plenty of rip-roaring rockers, too! “Taste of Freedom” taps into blues and rock, using a saxophone to really buckle down and get down to business; “Common Ground” is a modern protest song, delving into politics and how both sides are generally wrong. It’s a bold outing for the album to tout, but it’s a necessary one when you step back and look at the state of the world. The lyrics cite Vietnam, but there are plenty of pieces within the music that will make listeners reflect on modern affairs.
Other knockouts from The Department of the Interior include “I Love Soul and I Love Rock,” which is exactly what it sounds like — a loud, proud rocking track about the nostalgia of Price’s own history with rock music. The production feels retro adding a great flair of keys, and the personal attachment to the material from Price gives the song a definite place on the record as he cites his influences and upbringing, side by side. “Let It Go,” the penultimate song on the album, is a fast-paced track about the roaming spirit — ultimately leading Price to heartbreak as he leaves everything behind, losing the one he loves. The song has it all and captures the upbeat spirit of the record perfectly by dealing listeners one final instrumentally upbeat song with melancholy lyrics. “One More Time” closes the album out with an epic track that feels lifted from an old Western film; the production on the track is sharp with great guitar work bringing instances of guitar solos, and the guitar melody that closes the song out is some of the album’s best work.
There’s no time like the present to carpe your diem, as they say, and it’s clear with The Department of the Interior that Pete Price is doing that and so much more — arriving on the scene with the gusto of a record that feels as though it’s been in the works forever, Pete Price has no trouble reminding listeners of his storied career through the impressive skill of his songwriting and performance. There’s no doubt that, while this is his first solo record, it most certainly won’t be his last.