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You may remember an interview I conducted with singer/songwriter, Eric Peters, last September about the upcoming release of his new album, Far Side of the Sea. It was featured on this blog, as well as The Rabbit Room. Well, last week, Kickstarter backers were emailed the pre-order download of this album, and it was exciting to finally listen to the melodious fruition of the project we’ve been hearing about since then.

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Known by his friends as a somewhat melancholy songwriter (hashtag eeyore!), who can somehow pair mournful lyrics with peppy melodies, Eric is a beacon to many, encouraging them in the freedom of fully expressing the spectrum of human emotion. It’s been a while since Eric Peters brought us some tunes, his last project being the hope-laced collection of songs, Birds of Relocation. Now he’s releasing Far Side of the Sea, which was recorded as a companion piece for a photo essay book.

From the first track to the last, the songs paint images of someone caught in the wild unpredictable world we live in, addressing themes of loss, humility, and failure that connect to the Charlie Brown in all of us. Always writing from a place of awareness–both of his own limitations but also the greater capability of God’s grace–Eric’s music provides a raw and real backdrop for whatever may be going on inside the hearts of his listeners.

Musically, the tracks vary between lighthearted beats, ballads, and signature more-acoustic numbers. Infused with a synth-pop flair, certain tracks on Far Side of the Sea have a more ethereal and dance-worthy feel than previous songs in the Peters canon. This helps lift the weightiness of the album to a higher place, offering hope both musically and lyrically, when the songwriter alludes to the wholeness that awaits in a world to come.

Gravity (Vincent in Reverse) is a fine example, being a delightful, airy homage to Van Gogh and the other despondent men the singer asks God to show mercy on. It’s upbeat and reminiscent of Owl City’s “Saltwater Room,” which seems paradoxical when written about a painter who killed himself. But that’s Eric for you.

Beautiful One (Nowhere) is a lovely piano-driven lament about the fragility of life, written in waltz timing that had me swaying in my chair, even as sorrow spilled out from the lyrics. Nobody is a humble ode to learning the truth that those who lose their life will find it, and Field of Failure is a gem in which Eric sings:

I’m never bold, and I’m not very tough
I lack the soul that has the right stuff
My dying field stretches out into nothing
But come see a soul pulsing Lazarus blood

Worst Parts is the ending track on the album, a gentle anthem of surrender that sums up the feeling Adam and Eve probably had when self-consciousness overtook them in the garden.

As a first listen, Far Side of the Sea delivers a fresh sound with a familiar voice. After a second and third listen, it becomes even more deeply satisfying. Go pick up a copy!

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