Lo! Peninsula: AKA Lo Peninsula

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https://lopeninsula.bandcamp.com/album/aka-lo-peninsula

There’s always an existential crisis when it comes to music, and musicians. Which is, what is it about me that makes me want to create music? What drives me to do this? Why can’t I just be a music fan? What is it that separates me, from the average person, who just listens to music?

After all it isn’t cheap. The gear, the promotion of your music, the recording studio fees, the amount of time trying to perfect that one take, etc. It’s essentially a large money pit, that requires you to learn as you go, any mistake is costly, and that’s not even the half of it. There’s an extremely high percentage that most people won’t listen to your music, and it’s not even a question of whether your music is good or not. It’s up to fate, and nothing is more existentially terrifying than leaving something up to fate.

So when Lo! Peninsula writes that, “Our debut EP, AKA Lo Peninsula, is a catharsis of the existential crisis that we have been facing since the band was formed. This is our response to all the trials and tribulations that we had endured since we took our baby steps as a band.” Anybody who makes music immediately understands what they mean.

To begin with Lo! Peninsula’s AKA Lo Peninsula is an amazing album. For anybody who says rock n’ roll is dead, or has quit innovating, I would encourage them to listen to this album. The vocals innovate on the best of indie rock. With it’s production makes it sound like not just a rock singer, but like a voice high up in the mountains singing lyrics that peers out to the horizon–that sees all struggling artists–then articulates everything that they’ve been felt and experienced. For example take the lyrics in Quicksand (Nuffin).

“Drowning in quicksand everyday
Locked in a dreamy haze again
Look how we anticipate
A blizzard in the midst of a sunny day
To celebrate our own defeat”

It’s a song that encapsulates that natures of dreamers and artists–who in spite of all odds–strive for something greater. Something that is so exceptionally different from the regular person who is just solely focused on what’s in front of them, that they forget to look up at the stars. Yet as an artist knows, that no matter how long you stare up at the stars, at the end of the day you still need to pay the bills.

The psychedelic guitars even further illustrate this point. Psychedelia was originally started from artists who were pushing boundaries, expanding their consciousness, and changing the status quo. So what better sound is there to encapsulate the archetypal spirit of the artist than psychedelia? The guitar with it’s psychedelic tones, creates a sound that is not only unique but also celebrates everything that preceded it. Take Sleight of Hand with it’s thundering bass, spaced out guitars, and cool laid back drumming. It not only creates music that is expansive, and conceptual but also music that has a groove; a sound that you could dance to, or just listen to in your room. Regardless of which you choose it’s music that you can lose yourself in.

Yet even if you create the best art in the world and nobody listens to it. Take Evil Favours a song that begins with a melancholy sample of a thunderstorm. With a reflective and introspective sound, it asks questions that most artists themselves. Is it all worth it? Lo! Peninsula reflects on these questions that artists often ask of themselves, and provides an answer.

We broke all the rules
To spend a lonely lifetime together
And tiptoeing down memory lane
To find another spark of love to treasure
Should we be counting on evil favours forever?

We sailed across the ocean
To play our parts along and undefeated
And crushing down the castles in the sand
To find another spark of love to treasure
Should we be counting on evil favours forever?

Oftentimes musicians take for granted that we even have the ability to create. Many people waste their whole lives wondering, “What if?” Yet Lo! Peninsula offers us a hand and provides us with the context that so many artists desperately need, that often it’s not the destination that matters, rather, it’s the journey.

Take the only track that does not feature any lyrics, Flashback Kid. With it’s reflective soundscape, and hopeful upbeat tone; it recalls a period in time when every musician picked up that six string guitar and started strumming away. Each section of the song feels like a discovery, of that time when you found a new chord, bought a microphone, recorded your first song, or bought a new guitar pedal; that feeling you get when you can finally start expressing yourself in a way, that words just can’t.

Finally Final Roar brings the album to it’s conclusion. The track has a false start, then you hear what sounds like a cassette being popped out of a cassette player, like a musician reminiscing on his music, the music that failed to provide a living, the music that cost so much, the music that they poured so much of themselves into, only to get nothing in return. Then the music returns with a reinvigorated energy that sounds uplifting and focused. No, they aren’t going to stop. Because like Lo! Peninsula says,

“Because it’s time for the final roar
To be awake forevermore
Well it’s time for the final roar
To be awake forevermore”

Lo! Peninsula created this album as an expression of the existential questions they faced as a band. Yet, this album not only expresses the indomitable spirit of the artist but that of all humanity. That challenges we face when we no longer tread the beaten path, but blaze our own path; and the triumph of the individual overcoming all obstacles in their path.

For it’s amazing psychedelic sounds, celebration of the human spirit, and everything else that this album has to offer, I give it my full recc.

 

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