Speaking about the formation of the band known as Peak Futures, as well as the album that we have hear today, musician Chris Hills recalls that “once we got demos down I knew that bringing in Pauli and Tom Marsh (Lana Del Rey) on drums would add another dimension.” In our humble opinion, it’s not only a couple of dimensions that you’ll discover through the band’s Colours of the Sun LP, but several.
We start with the much praised ‘Orion’ single, a raucous psychedelic rock number with a moreish bass line, fore-frontal percussion, fiery guitars and Joe Bernie’s electric voice which will be a recurrent theme throughout the record. Next up is ‘Tapestry’, the band’s most popular song to date and one that shows a more commercially leaning side the the band. While there’s still many elements you’ll heard in ‘Orion’, it’s more tapered down with an upbeat rhythm and a construction borrowed from disco.
‘Makes Me Wonder’ is third on the album and it’s a considerably tonal shift from the uber energetic introduction. It’s almost as though you’ve strayed into a smokey jazz bar somewhere in downtown New York in which a pianist and vocalist have captured the sole attention of the patrons. This narrative ballad is delivered by the charismatic Eva Brooks.
Continuing our emotional and stylistic journey, Peak Futures gives us ‘Andromeda’. Reminiscent of The Flaming Lips, the collective combine space-inspired synths with jazzy percussion to really drive home the cosmic influence that sits at the core of this album. It’s an unusual instrumental moment, but you can’t deny the creativity. Coming in at number five is familiar favourite ‘Broadway’, which we had the joy the premiere earlier this year. From the space odyssey of ‘Andromeda’, it’s as though we’re crashing back down to earth to chime in with this piece of soulful storytelling. Much like in ‘Tapestry’, Bernie addresses the listener directly, asking us what really means the most to us in life.
Approaching the home stretch, the album is brought into full focus by riveting recording ‘Juno’, which combines a lo-fi rock guitar riff with East Asian folk strings; there’s a little bit of Milky Chance in there thanks to the ecstatic drumwork that keeps the motion of this track at full pelt. We can imagine this one going down a storm in a live setting.
Our penultimate listen is another interesting combination of rock, jazz, soul and a spattering of space all encapsulated under the title ‘The Tide’. We wonder if the structure and name were inspired by the unpredictability and seeming chaos of the ocean, itself controlled by the pull of the moon thousands of miles away. The kinetic energy of this track allows space and movement for each musician to explore their own creativity; we hear impassioned drums, tender saxophone, wandering guitar and Rebecca Freckleton’s expressive vocals. This track, probably more than all of the others, represents the soul of this collective. It’s just like Peak Futures’ founder Hills says
“It’s not just about showcasing the great musicians I’m lucky enough to have on the album. I also feel that sticking to a 3-minute pop single formula is so limiting, especially when it comes to creating an album that has an arc to it that holds together if you actually listen to the whole thing. Which is what I hope people do with Colours of the Sun.”
Coming full circle to close out Colours of the Sun is ‘Orion (Reprise)’, in which we continue on the sonic conversation from the album’s opening song. It’s a big one to end on as all of those delicously juicy elements come together – chunky bass, stadium-worthy guitar riffs, Bernie’s unmistakably powerful vocals and relentless drums. We also have the additional treat of a hard-hitting spoken word verse delivered by Pauli the PSM, who you’ve already heard throughout the album, although on drums. The consistent theme of searching for meaning in a limitless universe is presented to listener without any air of vagueness or mystery; the band want to make sure you’ve heard it, you’ve understood and you’ll take something away to think about once the album has finished playing.
Or maybe, you’ll go in for second listen, we certainly did.
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