Zervas & Pepper – Abstract Heart
Zervas & Pepper are a good example of how if you have talent, dogged determination, a solid work ethic and possess a strong self-belief you can still make your mark on the UK music scene. The band have come a long in 5 years going from home recordings and free gigs at the Old Library in Cardiff to recording in LA, meeting David Crosby and playing support slots with the likes of Deacon Blue and Seth Lakeman. Third album in sees consolidation and a gradual sophistication of their song writing and arrangements rather than radical changes or risky experimentation. It’s no secret that Zervas & Pepper are inspired by classic 70s music and they are no doubt fully aware of some of the potential pitfalls of self-indulgence or becoming too saccharine sweet and ending up in the middle of the road. Thankfully the band avoid this and if anything many of the tracks having a darker edge and are more exploratory than on previous albums. One such example is “Celestial Friend” which deals with bereavement drawn for personal experience. A deeply touching song with sublime melodies and Indian instruments played by Matt Malley from Counting Crows. “Laika” also introduces new textures with the addition of mellotron and demonstrates the band aren’t afraid to explore and expand their sound palette. Elsewhere “Here & Now” is a stripped back acoustic beauty with a vocal of pure gold and probably best of all is “Miller” with its strident vocals and beautiful layered guitar interplay. Abstract Heart is a fine album that will satisfy the growing army of Zervas & Pepper fans and should see them consolidate their position as one of the UK’s finest acoustic acts. As the years go by don’t be too surprised if Paul and Kathy wind up living on a ranch in LA surrounded by children with the likes of Jonathan Wilson and Graham Nash calling by to make music, drink tea and discuss life, the universe and drop down tunings.