Buoyed by the interplay within a very tight band, this particular segment of “bonus content” was one where I was pleased the band thought of me. (I’m not sure where they got the idea; perhaps being a New York-based band they knew of others I had reviewed from the same metro area over the years.)
In my introduction to the group I learned that they consider themselves “psychedelic indie funk.” Given the album leads off with Barometric Pressure (Here Comes The Rain) – a song with exactly that kind of groove – I was expecting more of the same. Add in the keyboard-based Win Some Lose Some and I got to thinking, “okay, this band has its chops down.”
But then I got the neat little reggae feel of Imaginary Lines and the more adult contemporary Falling Backwards Through Time and I realized, say, this band is on to something. And this was only four songs out of thirteen. Add to that a little bit of Southern blues flavoring at the tail end of the collection (except for its unneeded out-of-studio coda, Ballad Of Wiley Jones would have been right at home on an Allman Brothers record and Mama’s Got A Lot Of Love is, as the title suggests, a fun song) and you want to know where it all comes from.
So I did a little bit of digging upon their prompt and found that primary songwriter and guitarist Jeremy Hilliard was in a band called Turbine; a band that played regularly around the Northeast until it went on a apparently permanent “hiatus” around the end of 2016. Tellingly, one of Turbine’s last shows was a tribute they called “Radio Dead” – Radiohead songs played in a Grateful Dead style and vice versa. (The other current Peak members as of the date I received this invite back in August are Otis Williams on keyboards, Eric Thachuk on bass, and new drummer John Venezia, who replaced the drummer on the album, Dale Paddyfote. Yes, another one I sat on awhile for the reason I explained yesterday, particularly since “Electric Bouquet” was released back in January.)
After returning to the funk with song five, On The Grind, and another more mellow piece called My Heart (Time Lapse), I found out where that jam band influence went, beginning with the eight-minute Ride Through The Night. They reverse that trend in the next two songs, going with the radio-friendly Idyllwild Flower first and the funky instrumental Funk And Tonic, which is rather smooth going down, before they take six minutes to do the bouncy Feel Like Moving.
But Peak tops that with their best song – their peak, as it were – Nothing New Under The Sun. It’s a song that plays like a standard song for the first half before completely changing tone about midway through. If you’ve ever gone to a concert where a band does a mashup medley of two or three hits, you’d get this as they pick back up with the main lick in the last two minutes or so. Three years ago my number one album for the year (Jas Patrick’s “Inky Ovine“) had a track just like that and I like those kind of songs when they can be pulled off successfully, as Nothing New Under The Sun was.
So… speaking of number one albums, it is getting about that time, isn’t it? Since I only have one more record to review before I call it a 2018 – no doubling up next weekend – I can safely say there’s a top 5 album in this here blog post. (See what happens if you ask nicely?) Of course, your mileage may vary so by all means deal with Spotify and listen for yourself. And if you are in the Big Apple, you may catch a show by either Peak or the stripped-down Off-Peak, a show where less than the full band performs, and a name which I thought was humorous enough to add as a postscript of sorts.