With hint of P!nk, a whiff of Madonna, a huge tip of the hat to Dusty Springfield, a nod and a wink to Emeli Sande and some good ol' power ballads, Heather Peace crosses more genres than Jess Ennis-Hill has crossed finish line. But this is in no way a bad thing, as holding it all down and tying it all together are Heather's unmistakably seductive and powerful vocals. From a tender gasp to a gasping seduction, Heather has me mesmerised from start to finish much like watching the aforementioned Olympian during London 2012!
WATCH | Heather Peace - 'We Can Change'
From the opening pound of 1st track 'The The Line' I can just feel something special, although our kittens are clearly not as keen as every time we put the album on the run and hide under the sofa! (Sorry Heather, Juno & Jazz aren't impressed - the fools!). In an interview I did with Heather a few weeks back she explained that this track was written whilst making a cuppa after watching a news report on Syria and the lyrics just poured out. It's a powerful track and Heather's vocals are suitably strong - driving the point well and truly home.
From the interview Heather also told me about the next track 'No Mercy' and how it was pretty naughty for her. I couldn't wait to hear it! But with the slow vocal opening I initially thought 'oh no'...but then...when it drops! I love happy and upbeat Heather and 'No Mercy' is a great example. I have to turn it up every time, a firm fave with me and the missus! The drum fills just before the chorus, that little guitar riff, the strings and of course Heather's seriously sexy vocals - especially the whispering calls - ooooweeeee - wow! It's the little things of this track that make it a stand-out for me, and possibly my favourite on the album.
Although Heather had explained to me that The Thin Line was definitely more upbeat it's not all fun and games - its just as emotional as début Fairytales and 'Dance With The Devil' is just that. But the difference between the two albums is that its clear Heather had much more control over the creation and production of each track - not only lyrically open and honest but musically and vocally much more creative and fuller bodied - much more meat to the bones! What I love about The Thin Line is that all vocals are Heather's - layered harmonies and backing vocals its all her and that really comes to light on 'Dance With The Devil'.
WATCH | Heather Peace - 'Lily'
'In My Arms' takes another turn for the album - and is another favourite of mine. It's like Heather tapped into my brain and wrote this for me and my other half - but of course it's for her own wife. But that's what I meant before - Heather is so open and honest I fell like I'm reading pages of her diary that I can just connect to so easily. And of course a good ol' key change is always welcome in my books!
'We Can Change' is Heather's self-dubbed big gay anthem. And whilst I do love it and everything it stands for, I find after a few listens and depending on my mood I reach for the skip button. Not because I don't like it but just 'cos it's a little shouty and it does go on a little bit and if I'm not in the right mood it gets moved on. It's like one of those really epic movies that could have ended at like 3 points in the film before it actually does, but it's still frigging epic - does that make sense!?
Now for fans that attended the last tour or purchased the live album from the Jazz Cafe show, you'll recognise 'Forever Drowning'; Heather's bitter-sweet love song. It's a total sing-a-long and I can't wait to see her do it on the next tour. Another track from the live album is 'House For Your Broken Heart' and it's a really beautifully crafted track filled with heartache but with a light at the end of the tunnel - if you've got a mate going through a break-up put this on for them! Heather's vocals are just perfect on this track, completely understated yet totally powerful.
'Clown' another track I recognised from the live album and another big ballad led by Heather's strong vocals and gut-wrenching piano - it was a beautiful moment live at the show and that has translated on to record so well. The first track Heather released is next, 'Lily'. When I first heard it I have to admit I wasn't sold on it. But as I listen more - and hearing it through my sound-systyem at home rather than the crappy speakers at my work desk - I hear all these little musical nuances that makes the track grow on me with every listen. From the percussive intro to the guitar riff running throughout - it's not only a musically complex track but also such a moving song vocally; a true story at that too. Although as Heather advised me names were changed and she never acted on her initial angry instincts.
When I saw the tracklisting for The Thin Line I thought 'Love Affair With Misery' doesn't sound very up-beat. And although vocally I was right on this one, there's still something quite uplifting about it and it's another stand-out for me. Possibly due to the Alana Miles-esq 'Black Velvet' drums and guitars - it's a guilty pleasure of mine!
WATCH | Heather Peace - The Thin Line Studio Footage
'I Pick Flowers' is one of Heather's favourite tracks from The Thin Line, and another we heard on the last tour. When we saw her at Jazz Cafe she was nervous to play it but bravely did and it's absolutely just as gorgeous on the album as it was that night. There's a complete tenderness to every element of the track and the perfect way to close the album.
The Thin Line delivers everything I wanted from it, and a bucket load more. The live recording works so well, as Heather's voice is so strong it's at it's best live so it's nice to hear that's not been lost, by recording it all in a live setting with only some elements over-dubbed. Heather and her team have created some amazing songs with some truly breathtaking elements to them - these haven't been lost by over-producing but instead they've been enhanced by clean and creative production, fantastic musicians and wonderful composition.
With The Thin Line Heather has given us some truly honest music that I have no doubt in saying that her fans, old ad new, will more than connect with. Heather deserves huge praise and recognition for this body of work - clever, sexy, fun, moving and truthful. Heather is a huge talent and The Thin Line proves that 100%.
If having paused the acting to better concentrate on her music means results like The Thin Line - Heather, don't go back to acting! ;-)
The Thin Line is released on Heather's own label Kaleidoscope Records on June 9th.
Heather will tour in support of the album all year. Tour dates below:
- Mon Jun 09 2014 The Latest Music Bar, Brighton, UK
- Tue Jun 10 2014 Stokey Stop, London, UK
- Fri Jun 13 2014 Axm Club, Glasgow, UK
- Sat Jun 14 2014 Smooth Live On The Waterfront 2014 Pier Head, Liverpool, UK
- Sat Jun 21 2014 York Pride 2014, The Knavesmire, York, UK
- Sat Jul 19 2014 Pride Glasgow 2014, Glasgow, UK
- Sat Aug 02 2014 Brighton Pride 2014, Preston Park, Brighton, UK
- Thu Sep 04-08 2014 ELLA Festival 2014, Pacha, Palma De Mallorca, Spain
- Mon Oct 20 2014 O2 Academy 2 Oxford, Oxford, UK
- Tue Oct 21 2014 Waterfront Studio, Norwich, UK
- Thu Oct 23 2014 O2 Academy 2 Newcastle, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK
- Fri Oct 24 2014 Manchester Academy 2, Manchester, UK
- Sat Oct 25 2014 The Queen's Hall, Edinburgh, UK
- Mon Oct 27 2014 Leeds City Varieties, Leeds, UK
- Tue Oct 28 2014 Birmingham Town Hall, Birmingham, UK
- Thu Oct 30 2014 Islington Assembly Hall, London, UK
- Fri Oct 31 2014 Brighton Corn Exchange, Brighton, UK
- Sat Nov 01 2014 Thekla, Bristol, UK