Producer, songwriter, singer, and engineer, Birmingham born and based Peters has had a lengthy musical career, initially as the drummer with 70s fractured reggae-infused new wave experimentalists Dangerous Girls, as one half of We’ll Always Have Paris in the 90s, touring with the likes of Boo Hewerdine, Everything But The Girl and Eddi Reader as well as releasing solo material.
Now, 15 years on from his last album, Zinc, he’s recorded another, aided and abetted by Dermot Walker from Peters & Dog on electric guitars, the tracks recorded over recent years in an assortment of studios. It bears his familiar Lennon influences, opening with the echoey strum of ‘When We Fall’ harking to late 60s progressive folk and from whence the title comes and a song about perhaps how limitations or circumstances prevent us achieving our aspirations (“The moon that thought it was the sun/So wanted to shine on everyone/But it was so dark it could not dee far/and lost its way amongst the stars”).
‘Alive’, one of my favourite tracks, is another strum, slower, here with a slight waltztime melody, a reflective, plaintively sung love song about standing by him despite his screw ups (“punctured by idiocy I fall down again … all that I’ve promised you will be there in time… all that we sacrificed will haunt us for the rest of our lives/But you and your persistence has kept us alive”).
The musical mood shifts to take in medieval colours for another stand out, the 6os (and, slightly Bowie) psychedelic folk shaded ‘Madam Misery’, an old Peters & Dog number guessingly about bullying those who are different or with mental health issues (“mercurial and agile, they took the piss when he was fragile”), with its woodwind simulating keyboard notes and catchy chorus. A shuffling jazzy blues groove underpins ‘Suse Loves Cooking’, a relationship in crisis number (“what has happened to our heart? We were lost in love now we’re drifting far apart”) because “You’re not listening, you only see things your own way”, but looking to try and work it out.
It’s back to70s progressive psychfolk territory for tale of ‘The Bearer Of The Poisoned Chalice (Part One: Descent From The Mountain)’, another Peters & Dog number, with its pulsing distorted guitars telling of a sorceress “who swept down from the mountain” and “fell upon the village/Like an ancient curse” so that “All children later born were strangers to their kin/The adults withered from within”.
Taking a lazing blues lope with Lennon/Oasis tones, ‘Scapegoat’ delves into New Testament territory (“leave us with your sorrow but don’t desert us in our hour of blue/Believe us when we tell you that the mystery of this wilderness is you”) with its chorus of “when he comes from back from the darkness he will shine with the stars up above”.
Another infectious folksy strum with a singalong chorus, ‘Long Island, Long Island’ is a slow shanty call for emotional salvation (“you were my only hope when lost at sea”), followed by ‘A Little Box Of Forgetfulness’, a bluesier introspective reflection of getting older (“I was born after the war, then spent my youth lost in the Sixties… Older I took my time to wander/Long hair and drugs were all the rage/Playing music was an answer/I felt that I had come of age…these days…my hair is long once more but greying”) with its nod to current climes (“we live in stranger days than ever/We sing this song to stay alive”).
Given the notes of disillusion, disappointment, despair and desperation that inform several of the songs, a swaying strum heads to a close with hope in the vanguard to take ‘A Leap Of Faith’ on the wings of love and friendship (“I will walk the Earth if you want me to/I will never leave you ‘cos you’re my soul/I will hold you in your darkest hour …keep me in your thoughts ‘though we’re far apart/I’ll forever me there by your side/I will be the one who halts the tide”), ending with’ Inside Out’, John McQueen on double bass and a wurlitzer-like sway as the ripples of time wash up memories and whatever the distance in years or miles “Here in your sigh/We’re entwined/And in my mind/There is treasure inside/For us to find”. Shine on.
Artist’s website: www.robpetersbandcamp
‘Scapegoat’ – live: