Having spent ten years touring with Ipswich band Hayze, Pete Thompson picked up a wide range of experiences of life on the road. A single produced by The Darkness’ Dan Hawkins and a support slot for The Stranglers meant that the band had some pretty big successes. However, when they split in 2010, Pete continued to write music and eventually created play_rewind_eject.
He has now released three records under his new project, Never Before But Maybe Again, Back To Forward and Chelsea Bikes with Maryland being the fourth. Pete says of the new release:
“I used live musicians for all parts on this EP. In the past I used sampled drums and programmed bass but this time every instrument is played live and I think it’s easy to hear the impact of this when you listen to it. Over the last couple of years I’ve become a bit obsessed with American writers and performers like Bruce Springsteen, Jesse Malin, Tom Petty and The Gaslight Anthem – they have a very descriptive story-telling to their songs and I wanted to try and replicate that with this EP. It also influenced the EP name, Maryland conjures up the same imagery to me as Nebraska but ironically there is a train station near London called Maryland which couldn’t be anything other than British – so it’s a juxtaposed position between an Americana influence but a very British sound.”
This clashing of worlds is pretty apparent on the EP with the three tracks compiling all having flavours of both classic British indie and smooth American soul. It begins with Innocence, a soft acoustic number which is a social commentary on how the modern world appears to rob innocence. As you might expect from the subject matter, it’s not exactly a happy upbeat track but it’s delivered with powerful passionate vocals. A dark growl of the electric guitar pierces the calm acoustic and is joined by a folksy tambourine beat. It’s a classic mellow festival song that certainly makes you think.
Middle track Everybody Knows is the happy-go-lucky summery track. A metallic riff with tinny sounding drums support the punk-ish vocals. There’s a definite angst in it but it still keeps with the catchy indie style which makes for its pretty skipping rhythm. Its unpolished charm and atmospheric piano and guitar merging means it’s a memorable song that you can’t help listening to again and again.
Ending on Circles, which stays true to its name and has lots of repetition involved. Acoustic strumming introduces it but Pete’s distinctive retro rock ‘n’ roll voice adds a bit of edge. Bluesy guitars add the American slant as they whine through the catchy rhythm. The seamless effect created by the ever-running riffs and drum beat makes for an easy-going, relaxing track that you can kick back to in the sun.
Maryland is an EP that is short and sweet but it manages to fit so much into just three tracks. Pete is a master at putting together words and music in order to create songs that lift right off the page. You’ll dance, you’ll ponder and most of all, you’ll play it again and then rewind it before finally ejecting.