Album, Single and EP Reviews



  Spark by Peter Searcy

Spark cover art

Artist: Peter Searcy
Title: Spark
Catalogue Number: Toucan Cove/Universal
Review Format: CD
Release Year: 2007

Listening to Kentucky songwriter Peter Searcy's latest CD, it's hard to imagine that some 20 years ago he was a cat-kicking punk rock front man. A world away from the teenage angst of Squirrel Bait, Spark is a pleasant, if slightly faceless, offering of pop-rock.
Searcy's voice has a clarity that renders his tunes instantly listenable. "The Summer Behind Us" is straightforward pop-rock, but falls just short of being memorable or catchy. "I Believe", however, boasts a more streamlined structure and does exactly what its predecessor fails to.

A classically-trained cellist, tracks like "Bird Songs" are brought to life by the sweep of the cello. It is here that Peter stands out from the crowd. Similarly, "Truth Rises" evolves nicely from an initially undecorated rock standard into a colourful epic. Signs of Searcy's punk rock legacy peek through on "Sparks" and it's fair to say that his departure has benefited him greatly. The energy of punk rock lives in him still but the young boy who might've jumped into an open fire is now more likely to seek warmth from it.

The last song on the album, "Sing Like It's The Last Time", has a nice melody to it and sees the album home safely. There is in fact a non-acoustic version of "Don't Let a Day Go By" - a song heard earlier on the album - after it, seemingly a bonus track. Surprisingly, it works better than the acoustic version.

I still can't get my head around the fact that this man was once in a punk rock act. Sure, this album is proof that his formative years were in fact well spent but it's still difficult to comprehend.
Review Date: November 9 2008