REVIEW: PEAKS - 'HOLLOWHEAD' EP 24/01/17 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- What Are We Talking About? Peaks is the new project from Ben Forrester of Manchester band Bad Grammar. This is his debut 5-track EP. Summary The five track EP ‘Hollowhead’ is a minimalist piece. Vocals take centre stage supported by varying degrees of contribution from the guitars. The rhythms are provided by both. The effect can be quite beautiful. ‘Dear George, Dear William’ has a clear vocal and some really superb guitars. The feeling is still quite sparse, but the guitars provide fine embellishment. The whole track is coherent, striking and ultimately the most pleasing on ‘Hollowhead’. The next track, ‘Rain City, What a Pity’, is much bleaker. The music echoes the sense of waiting brought forth by the lyrics. Another well produced song which perfectly evokes the feeling of looking to the future on the most boring of days. The slow finger-click rhythm and hazy backing vocals on ‘Don’t Mope (Part 2)’ support another striking vocal offering. The track moves into a lovely unfocused phase, echoing and soaring, before the descent back to the pared-down ending. Another great track. ‘Hollowhead’ is musically interesting and has some stand out moments. For people who don’t want to be bombarded with sound but choose to focus on sparer melodies, this works really well. The difference between a roast dinner and sushi. Both good in their own way. I If musical nouvelle cuisine is you thing, ‘Hollowhead’ should be just the album to whet your appetite. What Hooked Me The first track, ‘Swimmer’, sets the tone for the rest of the album. Here, both guitar and vocals provide the rhythm. The repetition is hypnotic. The lyrics are sober and thoughtful. Feedback ‘I’ll Get There Eventually’ is more standard man-and-guitar fare. The vocals and guitars are again fine, but this has the feel of a filler track compared to the more interesting songs that precede it. Ben has produced a striking first body of work. ‘Hollowhead’ might have worked better if he had not reverted to the more traditional man strums guitar on ‘I'll Get There Eventually’. It slightly lets down what is otherwise a confident and assured debut. Artwork The artwork for ‘Hollowhead’ is a pen and ink drawing on a pale pink background. The image has an organic feel and is quite complicated. It has a lot of detail, even though the colours are muted. The music is also muted but lyrically complex, so it seems fairly fitting. Line From The Band: We caught Ben and asked him about the story of his solo projects debut: 'Hollowhead’ was recorded one brisk October weekend with my good friend Dan Wild-Beesley. I've worked with Dan on previous projects so I knew I was in good hands but this was the first time we'd work on something that wasn't full of distorted guitars and screaming. It was a totally different vibe to what we’ve been so use to in the past few years but I think we pulled it off. This record is very much about breaking down negative thoughts and feelings. I wouldn't say that you have to think positive all the time it's just about finding that balance for a more hopeful outcome. I hope people can find something they can hold onto here'. Vital Info You can catch Peaks at the following shows: Fred's Ale House in Levenshulme, Manchester with Sweet Deals On Surgery on Feb 16th The Mad Ferrett, Preston on Feb 24th --------------------------------------------------------------- ROXY GILLESPIE Roxy Gillespie is a lover of eclectic sounds. She uses her spare time sating her wanderlust as she travels the UK in search of the next live music fix. Currently scraping a living from care work while she decides which city to live in next, she reviews for a number of websites and Louder Than War magazine. She has written short fiction as another person in a different life.

 

 

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