Peak Arrival – Way Up – EP Review
From the moment that “Life Goes On” started the Way Up EP from Peak Arrival I felt like I was in for something fun, something unique. Immediately greeted by a playful piano melody and a beautiful set of vocals from both Meaghan Mader and Luigi Cararetto – these two hit the sweet-spot right away and got me interested and hooked into the positive vibes of their music and everything I was hearing. I felt like “Life Goes On” was a fantastic start that really highlights the blending of styles and sounds that these two come up with through combining reggae, pop, soul, R&B and much more. Slight human-flaws here and there on this opening tune…no mistakes really, just moments where you can hear Mader is still evolving into her sound…endearing moments where you realize that she’s right in the moment and letting the music come out of her purely. As far as the tone is concerned, it’s fantastic…and I think any slight issues are going to fall completely by the wayside as she embraces her talent and confidence as Peak Arrival continues on. Seriously…she has an amazing voice…in “Life Goes On” you kind of want her to match that energy and confidence that Luigi puts into the microphone…but understandably, the approach is different for each of them as they both bring different elements to the song. I just have the sneaking suspicion that “Life Goes On” is a representation of the early version of Meaghan… just you wait until you hear her after the full-course of confirmation from critics singing her praises about the way she sings this EP and the potential we hear collectively…she’ll take that into the next round and become even more powerful than she is now. She should have that confidence…because she truly sounds like she’s going to be amazing in the very near future. Nothing but good things on the horizon for Peak Arrival…a two-piece band is plenty portable, and if they can somehow pull songs like this off live, they’ll fit into lineups and festivals everywhere, trust me on that.
“Free Fall” already shows Meaghan in a more confident light. The tone of her voice is exceptional, backed-up perfectly by Luigi in a call-and-answer echo throughout the verse. Solid acoustic, light-hearted jam that sounds sweetened with its energy and intentions, Peak Arrival takes this second tune a little closer towards the pop/soul territory and the results are fantastic. They both sound great in their own individual parts and they sound magical together…have a listen to the entire song of course, but in particular, the last thirty-seconds of this tune really hit-home and highlight the best of these two together. Great rhythm, melody and flow here…overall, a beautiful composition with a ton of hooks in both verse and chorus, with performances that rise to the occasion and put their heart & soul into a song that truly deserves the effort.
As far as I’ve read…”Life Goes On” and the third tune, “Lemonade” are the oldest songs in the catalog of this young band. In other words…”Lemonade” was a key-factor in the existence of this band…well, both songs were of course, but in my opinion…they were probably collecting grins left & right from playing “Lemonade” as they were first testing out the reactions to their sound. If I’d heard this first, there’s no chance I would have felt the way I did about Meaghan’s confidence intially – here she sounds incredibly vibrant on “Lemonade” backing up Luigi as he rolls through the opening verse. Great bass-line and piano combo here on this track; after a solid-breakdown, Meaghan comes back to own the next verse sounding better than she has on the EP to this point with a set of vocals that have style, swagger, flow and angelic melody. Absolutely incredible rhythm to this song…the hooks of “Lemonade” are 100% guaranteed to pull you in close for a bro-hug and have you cheering your approval of Peak Arrival’s music.
“Bruised” was a seriously interesting track for me to hear. From the writing of it…it almost sounded like a song from Go West meeting a song from the INXS album Welcome To Wherever You Are. So…well…mid-90’s anyhow…so you can get a sense of where this track kind of lives in sound. You could argue a bit of Tracy Chapman…maybe a bit of Deep Blue Something…but no matter who you compare them to, no one name will cover it – Peak Arrival is really doing their own thing and with each song that’s played on the playlist of songs from Way Up – they’ve continued to impress more and more. I get a real kick out of the enthusiastic-rasp in Luigi’s vocals…this dude just sounds 100% into this project and I don’t even blame him remotely. The way that these two future-stars trade the microphone and vocals off between them comes out sounding perfect each time…and again, they’re like, as old as 2015…to think these are the beginning-blocks and pieces of their puzzle is mindblowing – this duo is going to go on to make some really fantastic music over the course of their career, believe that.
I think a couple things about the final song “Summit.” First of all, I think it showcases the best in the folk-side of their music, sound and style. That being said…wasn’t sure the playful piano bouncing along worked quite as well for me this time around as it did at the outset of the EP. LOVE the melody shared between them in the vocals though. BUT! Secondly, and perhaps more importantly…I think “Summit” really summarizes what Peak Arrival is all about better than any of the other songs. You can hear the beautiful intentions these two have for their music and for the way they live their lives through this final track if you put your ears up to the headphones just right. Meaghan sounds gorgeous in the opening verse…pensive and thoughtful on the way into the inviting hooks of the chorus. Great control in the tone and the slight tremble in the vocals sounds spot-on, her natural vibrato brings a ton to these songs.
Overall…as an EP, I’ll say this…I think it’s a fantastic start to something that truly will be something even greater as time goes on. I already think that it would be impossible to stay in a bad mood or not crack a smile when listening to Way Up and Peak Arrival…and I think these songs show a tremendous amount of heart and passion for both music and humanity. They’ve put a lot of great ideas on display and shown us many different sides to their story already through this set of five tunes…and I think they’re onto something that’s really special here. Mark my words…this duo from Denver, Colorado is going to continue to sparkle and shine brighter and brighter each time we hear from them, I guarantee it.
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