Fuelled by spite and venom, Black Peaks return with a statement of intent.
‘Highly anticipated’ doesn’t quite cut it when describing this song. Peak’s previous release, Statues saw tremendous critical acclaim and is also to thank for the band making their mark on a hugely competitive scene. The 2016 album was laced with quality from start to finish and debuted mind-bending guitar riffs, visceral vocal performances and a stellar cameo from the one and only Jamie Lenman – Statues really is a triumph to behold. Add to this a run of impressive live performances (my personal favourite taking place in The Cave at 2000trees) and already, this band had proved themselves as a force to be reckoned with. Naturally, after such a promising start, Black Peaks now find themselves with some work to do.
Enter: Can’t Sleep.
A drumroll perfectly mirrors the excitement with which we sit at the inception of this track. Joe Gosney’s lead guitar stumbles in to set the song alight, it is shortly joined by the rest of the instrumental ensemble in an explosion of chunk. The dust settles, and Will Gardner makes sure to afford us just a few seconds before breaking into his customary growl that has become such an integral mainstay in Black Peak’s dynamic. In terms of pace, the verse is rather pedestrian but does its job perfectly in pointing us in the direction of what’s to come. The timbre amps it up again for a few bars before we are guided into the second verse.
Following this, the chorus soars. The way that Liam Kearly ever so delicately taps his ride cymbal sticks out for me here – it’s a fine demonstration that, just because a song is ‘heavy’, it doesn’t need to be a constant bombardment of obnoxious crash-bang-wallop. Importantly, there is a hook here, and it’s one that is fundamentally accessible. The simple nature of the hook ensures listenability which is a huge factor in guaranteeing that the audience stays for longer than just the first listen. The pace increases in the latter stages of the chorus to perfectly lay the foundations for the onslaught to follow…
Perhaps predictably, the breakdown steals the show. An almighty scream from Gardner invokes shivers that will set your arm hairs on edge and the band unite to collectively send us into a furious sonic frenzy. There is a refrain in the breakdown in which the strings combine to strike precisely on the first beat of each bar – with the bass guitar of Dave Larkin sounding particularly fat. Atop of this is the heavily distorted rantings of Gardner – personally, I can’t make out any of the lyrics, which is a shame, but it’s ok because it sounds cool (I guess?). Once again, the riot ensues, and this will undoubtedly be one for the pit – tremendous tenacity.
One final round of the chorus is this time capped off with a post section that untethers Gosney’s six-string that, from a technical aspect, had remained relatively subdued throughout this song. Anyone that is familiar with Peak’s discography or their live performances will recognise that the man is a wizard with his instrument and so I’m hoping to hear more of that talent in the remainder of their new material. Indeed, an album is on its way and if Can’t Sleep is anything to go by, we are in for one hell of a treat.