ZERVAS & PEPPER – Abstract Heart (Zerodeo Records BOB020)

Z&PT​he songs on the new ​album Abstract Heart by Welsh duo Zervas and Pepper are a modern-day mix of Crosby, Still, Nash & Young, Tom Petty and Blackmore’s Night – oh, and accented with some Alan Parsons’ zest. So no, it’s far from your traditional folk-rock music. That is cause for celebration.

In a world of imitators the Welsh duo of Paul Zervas and Kathryn Pepper have proven the 2013 album Lifebringer was no anomaly.  As fans recall, that album was full of rich story telling (‘Living in a Small Town’) and lush, James Taylor-style ballads over plaintative strings (‘Ghost Dancer.’)

Listeners will hear those same solid foundations on the May 25 release​ Abstract Heart but in a decidedly more nuanced form, thanks in large part, to full band instrumentation and, certainly, the songwriters’ growth.

Such maturation isn’t easy, especially when crafting songs about mortality and loss – the topic of many songs on this new release — but Zervas and Pepper pull it off with aplomb as evidenced by how seamlessly they move from the soft rocking ‘We Are One,’ which won all kinds of kudos and airplay including on various BBC channels, to the upbeat-while-introspective ‘Laika.’

“Our last record was written as an escape from the situations we were dealing with at the time. But there is only so long you can suppress reality,” Pepper said in a press statement. “The songs just poured out, some songs were slightly dark, others blissed-out, but most of them were very close to home. It was a cathartic process.”

The result: A spiritual reflection on the joy of life, with all its flaws​, beautifully told.

Nancy Dunham

 Artists’ website: zervasandpepper.com/

There’s no video from the new album yet but this will do to be going on with – ‘Cigar Store Indian’:

We all give our spare time to run folking.com. Our aim has always been to keep folking a free service for our visitors, artists, PR agencies and tour promoters. If you wish help out and donate something (running costs currently funded by Paul Miles), please click the PayPal link below to send us a small one off payment or a monthly contribution.