Monday, 19 October 2015

Albums Of 2015: Zervas & Pepper - Abstract Heart

After their first two sublime albums - Somewhere In The City & Lifebringer, Cardiff duo Paul Zervas & Kath Pepper released their third album - the equally sublime Abstract Heart. 
Building on the first two albums, Paul & Kath have added to their sound with some beautiful keyboard touches and occasional electronica flourishes to enhance their guitar sound.

The album opens with the uptempo Miller and shows a rockier side to the duo's usual delicate songs. It's a sound that the band often show live but have rarely shown on album.

Paul and Kath have no compunction in showing their influences - West Coast America of the 60s & 70s - most often seen in their glorious harmonies.
Miller could easily be from one of those early seminal Crosby, Stills & Nash albums.

As in the previous two albums, Paul and Kath take lead vocals on alternate songs - the gentler songs generally performed by Kath and the rockier ones by Paul.

The sun shines throughout the majority of the album either in Sunrise, Midday Heat or Sunset,

Terraform, Reach Out and Here And Now showcase the softer side of the album with those glorious soaring harmonies and Kath on lead vocals. Soft waves of acoustics just brushing up on the shore.

Paul, contributes lead vocal on the uptempo and rocking Foolish Dreamer, the dreamy Laika and the gorgeous title track Abstract Heart.

But Abstract Heart is not a case of treading water, the band have moved forward in both sound and structure with the uptempo Foolish Dreamer with it's almost Beatle guitar arpeggios.

If ever there was an album to lift your spirits it's Abstract Heart. Whether you're hearing it in the middle of summer, where it's the perfect soundtrack to driving around the country or if you want to bring a little light into the darkest days of winter.

The sound is multi layered and for me it's listening out for those intricate details such as the electronica sweep in These Blurred Lines that give the most pleasure. Beautiful indeed.

I have always believed that it would be interesting if Bands used the last track on albums to show where they might be going on the next release. It's an interesting concept. Try it on some of your favourite artists as an exercise.

With that in mind, Paul & Kath have saved their best song for the end of the album, the intoxicating Celestial Friend.

The album opens with a rocker and finishes with a dreamy soundscape incorporating really interesting rhythms - a special mention here for Andy Brown whose Bass lines in this song are particularly captivating and underpin the song perfectly.

I really hope that Paul & Kath build on the sound of Celestial Friend for the next album and branch out into some unexpected grooves. They certainly have the band and the skills to do it.

So, if you haven't already done it, go and get a copy of Abstract Heart and bring some Welsh Sunshine into your life - it's as rare as Welsh Gold these days.

Twitter - @zervaspepper

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