An Ever Darkening Sky
Folk-Rock Meets Alt. Country on a Moody and Melodramatic Soundtrack to Our Lives.
Roy Peak is a trusted member of the RMHQ Extended Family who write prosaic reviews from the heart in a style becoming of the wonderful records he creates as a side line to his day job as ‘Bass Player For Hire’.
So obviously there will be no nepotism involved in the writing of this review. (Ya think?)
That said, I only got to know Roy after reviewing his last album ALL IS WELL and as we live on different continents we are more pen-pals than friends; but he does have phenomenal musical taste that mirrors my own.
Opening track Sylvia, Sylvia took me by surprise as it’s a moody acoustic modernish Folk song with a bit of a bouncy beat and some lightning Dobro from Mark Williams ; not like I remember at all…… but better?
Not for the last time here, Roy uses his world weary voice as an extra instrument to curl its way around his words in a way most others couldn’t possibly achieve.
One song title in particular caught my attention as I skimmed the album cover; The Radioactive Kid, which may or may not also be the title of a Bill Bryson book but that’s only coincidental as this gloriously intense self-searching tale with a searing Hawaiian/steel guitar thread will tug at your heartstrings in a way my favourite travel writer never could.
When reviewing songs you are supposed to try to get to the roots of what the writer ‘meant’ but as a fan; I just try to explain the emotions that the songs create which is sad but hopeful when I hear Look Up At The Moon, ‘smiley’ with the dark and almost gloomy Look at Miss Ohio and ’empathetic’ each time I tap my toes to the growling Broken Too.
I’ve said a couple of times lately that I’m not really a lover of instrumentals; but the delightfully moody Not Enough Mermaids (with that beautiful Hawaiian/steel guitar lilt again) is a TV theme tune in waiting surely?
The title An Ever Darkening Sky squeezed my heart near to bursting the first time I heard it, as it really captured the zeitgeist of my life that evening; but today I’m in a different place and can just appreciate it for what it is; an intense and beautifully created song about depression and the shades that beast creates inside your head.
In today’s ‘market’ I suppose this album fits into the Alt. Country file; but there’s a bit of a Folk-Rock edginess to it too; none more so than the bittersweet break-up song Walk Away, which features Mr Mark Williams on harmonica too; which is something of a rare treat.
Then there is the ordeal of selecting one of my friends ‘musical babies’ as a personal favourite…….. well; I’m going for the ginger haired step-kid; Old Crow, which by the standards the album sets is a bit of a ‘right Royal Rocker’ albeit of the shoe-gazing type, and one that could and should prove a stepping stone for a whole album of Neil Young/REM/Tom Petty/Waco Brothers influenced songs in the near future perhaps?
There’s an argument that it’s never been easier to release music, but when I hear albums by songwriters like Roy Peak I marvel at the talent and fortitude that is actually out there to still battle through the numerous and tricky hurdles that the current music industry creates; to get their songs and tunes out into Internetland, making this a better place for me and you to live in.
Released February 29th 2019