As Hilliard explained to Live For Live Music, the PEAK frontman and songwriter is a more lyric-driven writer, particularly in contrast to other music acts that join him in the improvisational rock scene. He took the time to explain a little bit more to us about the creation of Electric Bouquet:
A phrase that keeps coming back to me is “songwriting is a contact sport.” I think it means that I love songs that have a certain really special quality to them and that when I’ve got one in my sights, a tiger by the toe to mix metaphors, I will wrestle with it for days, weeks, months, and sometimes years until I can pin it down. And I lose the battle more often than not. Each song on Electric Bouquet is a victory from those contests of will.
My primary concern as a songwriter is how good a song is. Is it undeniably good? Style, to me, for better or worse, is secondary. That said, after I have a collection of songs that work together in some way musically and thematically and that meet my standards in terms of quality, I do my best to find how it all fits together stylistically. I’ve got it down to the dark, modern indie electro-funk; some plain good old Americana songwriting; and the occasional heavy riff to get the led out, as it were.
However, this album was not the lone product of Hilliard. Rather, he was eager to note that the role his bandmates and the album’s producer, Dave Brandwein of Turkuaz, played in shaping Electric Bouquet to become what it is. He continued:
Dave Brandwein as producer really helped in honing the stylistic vision. He also had an idea for the hi-fi yet warm vibe of the record from the get-go. Eric Thachuk on bass was crucial in helping flesh out some of the harmony and riffs to the songs, as well as carving out the perfect low end. He was also essential in helping program and construct a modern atmosphere. Otis Williams brought a wall of textures that form the sonic landscape. From his harmonic choices in the jams to the wide array of sounds he wrings out of the organ, not to mention all the synths that populate the songs, his sound is all over the record. Dale Paddyfote provided the funk foundation and the great harmonies you hear.
Listen to PEAK’s brand-new album, Electric Bouquet, below, and read on to hear Live For Live Music’s thoughts on this captivating collection of tunes.
Electric Bouquet starts off strong with “Barometric Pressure (Here Comes The Rain)”. The song’s perky, staccato beginning showcases some razor-sharp production, which gives each instrument a strong place in the mix. The tune itself has an infectious head-bobbing beat, complimented by swirling guitar and lush keyboard fills that make for a solid backdrop before and after the song’s spacey breakdowns. Next, “Win Some, Lose Some” settles into a more traditional groove, still bringing some welcome originality to the proceedings as well as spotlighting the crisp drumming of the album’s drummer, Dale Paddyfote, whose pulsating beats lift the energy on the next song, “Imaginary Lines.”
Tracks like “Falling Backwards Through Time” show that PEAK is not afraid to slow things down and embrace their psychedelic side. Similarly, the song serves as a welcome respite for a moment from the hard-charging and propulsive tunes around it. But, like all moments of rest, it’s quickly over, and tracks like “On The Grind” and its monolithic guitar lines and chorus beg for expansive stage renditions. PEAK isn’t afraid to adapt genres to their sound, with “Funk And Tonic” showing the band’s ability to merge soul and progressive sensibilities with impressive ease. Clearly, Hilliard is most comfortable on the cutting edge of prog-styled guitar, like on “Feel Like Moving”, though across the entirety of Electric Bouquet, he shows his range, especially on the bluesy “Ballad Of Wiley Jones.”
Closing out the disc with the country-tinged “Mama’s Got A Lot Of Love” cements Electric Bouquet as a far-reaching album that actually manages to nail each part of the sonic spectrum the band visits. It’s rare to see a band with clear strengths be so willing to experiment with their formula, and PEAK will win listeners who are willing to join them on this musical exodus easily. When the album ends, the real question is how soon can they get back into the studio and resume this multi-faceted assault on the edges of their sound? It’s rare that an album leaves listeners so intrigued about a band’s future, and Electric Bouquet speaks volumes for a bright future for PEAK.
Keep an eye out for more from PEAK in the future, as they’re certainly a band on the rise. For more information about the band, head to the group’s website here.
Check out pro-shot footage from their recent performance at NYC’s DROM: