Peak Low, the stage name of Derbyshire’s Nathan Till, is a somewhat fitting name for the artist behind Transition, itself a fitting title for the debut album from Peak Low. Inspired in part by Till’s escape from a strict religious upbringing and the struggles that came with trying to adapt to the world outside such a life, Transition is eight tracks of soaring and optimistic indie rock born from trying and testing times.
The result is a record that’s bold, brash and ambitious; its rich musicality and deeply nuanced composition belied by its rather generic ‘indie’ tag. Indeed, there’s far more on offer here than in your average indie record. At least towards the later stages.
This does come at a price however. Such are the intricacies and nuances of the record’s composition, that any of the emotional gravitas harboured by Till’s lyricism is lost amongst the layers of instrumentation, though this issue doesn’t arise until the album’s second half.
Indeed, Transition does feel like an album of two distinct halves. Its first four tracks providing anthemic if not reasonably safe alt-rock in the form of tracks such as the U2-esque opener ‘Nothing Nothing Nothing’ or the frenetic Radiohead influenced single ‘R U OK?’. And while these early tracks certainly succeed in establishing Peak Low’s aesthetic nicely, one can’t help but feel that he has more to offer.
And you’d be right. The driving claustrophobia of ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ is an album highlight, as are the soaring heights of ‘Credit Card’, which once again brings to mind Ok Computer era Radiohead effortlessly.
In fact, it’s arguably tracks four through seven which provide Transition with the personality to make it stand out from other, less cerebral indie rock offerings. Of course, in standing out musically, Transition struggles to ever really take root lyrically; a shame given the story behind the record.
As such, one can’t really fault the record for its foibles. There’s potential there, buckets of it in fact, and when Transition hits home it really takes off. Which is why it’s so frustrating that half the record canters when the other gallops. And act to keep your eye on for sure.