(4 / 5)
If you are a bloke, you don’t change your name when you marry. It sticks with you from womb to grave. Unless you are a dodgy geezer and use aliases for any reason – or if you change your gender.
But some artists use stage names, of course. Nathan Till chose the mysterious Ghosts of Social Networks for his moniker for making music back in 2016. But he got fed up with media mistakes calling him all sorts, but! He also kept being called “a band” or “the group”.
So pseudonym number two is…..Peak Low. A guy from Derbyshire in the UK and the High Peak area, which nestles on the edge of the Peak District national park and a stones’ throw from Sheffield and Manchester.
As Ghosts of Social Networks he had support from national radio and some heavyweight tastemakers. But Peak Low is a relatively new project, and hey presto, he drops a full length record, “Transition”, which is out now. Nathan sings the self-penned songs and plays guitar.
The current single, “R U OK?” is a banger. * Hear the track, below. * For me, it is very Diesel Park West sounding and the vocal on this killer cut sounds close to DPW’s lead singer and songwriter Jon Butler. That’s a good thing. I am now quite addicted to this track and need my daily fix!
Peak Low’s “Transition” offers up eight tracks recorded in Wolverhampton and produced by Gavin Monaghan, (who has produced Editors, The Twang, Ocean Colour Scene and many more), and engineered by Joseph Murray and Liam Radburn.
The songs penned across a three- year window, opening with the rousing “Nothing Nothing Nothing”, a song that came out in June as a single. Dedicated to Nathan’s fiance, who was supposed be his wife by now, but their summer wedding was cancelled due to the pandemic.
“Prey” sticks with the anthemic approach, and like a lot of this powerful stuff, you’d be forgiven for thinking here is a new U2 release. “Prey” was a January 2020 single.
“R U OK?” is the most enjoyable four minutes and 36 seconds – with your clothes on! One of the tracks of the year for me….Nodding to The Beatles (and even Talking Heads) at points in the song, but as mentioned before, deffo Diesel Park West territory.
The guitars sound awesome. Andrea Gobbi on bass (also on “Don’t Know How To Love”), Nico Macaranelli on drums (also on “Nothing Nothing Nothing” and “Prey”), and John Miles on guitar (also on the opening track).
The production values are on point, with the drums and the guitars sounding mighty and the lead vocal sat just right in the mix amid a lot of noise – glorious noise, by the way – from the instruments and the volume. One way to hear this: LOUD.
“My Lucifer” switches vibes from powerful electric guitars to moody electro pop, with synths and programmed stuff, perhaps a tad Depech Mode-ish and on a slight Gothic tip. A more controlled vocal, which works well. Ben Darque on drums on this one, and on four others.
The tempo and power picks back up with “Don’t Let Me Down”, which has an 80s Euro-rock-pop feel to it. Like other cuts here, much potential for a sync’ deal to grace a movie or TV drama soundtrack. Penultimate track “Love Potion” lost my attention a tad. A moody one again and perhaps some Bauhaus flavours.
“Credit Card” starts with annoying whistling (a pet hate) on a slowish Richard Hawley/Elbow style, singer-songwriter love song, that gives nice light and shade in a set of mainly in yer face loud rockers. Nathan’s gentler vocal approach on this track is something he should revisit on future releases. The control works well. A single from December 2019.
The Cure and The Pretenders vibes on the pretty and enjoyable jingly jangly closer, “Don’t Know How To Love You”.
But…..this quality set is over far too soon with only eight tracks here. A focus on quality and not quantity, I suppose. Leaving folk wanting more, hopefully. My hand is in the air as to that question. Yes please.
If this were album #4, #5 or beyond of an artist’s output, I may be tempted to write the line marketeers adore: “Career defining”. But for a debut, let’s just say that if this is what Peak Low aka Nathan Till can deliver for a first crack, then his future looks pretty exciting from where I am stood.
It’s feel-good. A big sound. It rocks. It soars. It is passion and a labour of love writ large. This shizzle is arena/stadium-ready. Damn straight. Think U2, Simple Minds, The Cure, The Mission.
Often solid playing and good songs can be let down by a weak vocal. Not here…this guy’s pipes are a prize find. One of the best UK rock voices I have heard in a long time. Gob smacked he is unsigned.
If any A&R types want to grab a copy of this album, and can be arsed to leave their London office and find out you don’t fall off the edge at Watford or Luton, maybe a trip to the gorgeous Derbyshire countryside would be a very shrewd move indeed. And soon – before someone else beats them to it….
By Simon Redley
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’