GRIFF PETERS – Canyons And Waves

Impropriety 2022

Canyons And Waves

A quietly disturbing paean to the precious art of living from a San Diego minstrel.

Even knowing that this singer-songwriter graduated from Berklee – an oxymoron of sorts – can’t prepare the listener for surprises that are concealed within Griff Peters’ debut album. Its observations may seem depressive at first glance yet, in fact, delivered a song cycle, “Canyons And Waves” is a life-affirming offering – a praise of existence, wrapped in understated tunes and given a twist here and there. But, while the Californian artist counts his blessings, drawing on natural sources in search of spiritual truth, there’s an ephemeral feeling of Griff’s belief in getting the most of our numbered days – hence Peters’ desire, after playing with higher-profile musicians, to finally issue a solo record. Worrisome and wonderful, the disc will reveal its melodic nuances slowly – and it’s worth repeated spins to find all its secrets.

The signs of the platter serving as a puzzle are here from the start, yet though its domestic opening scene and the harmonic phrase “Someday I’ll come home” give way to a tidal roll of prog-tinged thunder, the simple “Holiday” that this piece segues into will find Griff triumphantly proclaim “Welcome to the Universe” over a muscular acoustic strum and frame his future homecoming as a cause for festivities, before drums and pedal steel propel the epic Americana of “Where You Been” to Appalachian bliss and mesmeric riff – away from urban disturbances. The more unexpected is a hard-veneered psychedelia behind “She Plays With Light” which Bryan Beller’s booming bass and Peters’ fluid guitar drive towards a pop refrain until the mantra-like “Choose Love” drives a piano-shaped wedge into the album’s merriment and sets the stage for “Marie Marie” whose organ-pressed blues present a different side of fun for all to savor.

Or even cherish – as “Climb A Tree” proposes through the delicate weave of the performer’s soft voice, banjo and cello, because the rough-hewn, hypnagogic, horror-inducing “Dirt” sweeps the sweetness into a Louisiana swamp, leaving the satiric reggae of “Stained Glass Eye” to linger on as a morbid reminder of the fact that not everything in the world is wondrous. Still, the platter’s titular finale is filled with expansive instrumental miracles – resonant, raga-tinctured notes which hang among the Delta-smelling drops of drone. Immersive and arresting, the cuts of “Canyons And Waves” bring delights so warm, not loving it would be impossible.


April 22, 2023

Category(s): Reviews
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