By: Shelby Lum
Both Double Dagger and Future Island were staples of the Baltimore music scene, yet Peals, the band that members Bruce Willen and William Cashion formed, is a vast departure from the punk roots of their previous bands. Peals has a sense of serenity to it, the kind of instrumental music you would play on a rainy afternoon while clutching a cup of tea.
“I think we both have fairly broad musical tastes,” Bruce Willen said. “We don’t just listen to rock music or new wave.”
With this newest project, about a year old now, the Baltimore duo have created a semi-ambient tone with instrumentals even Pitchfork has noticed.
“I think we were both wanting to explore something that was more quiet and melodic and more atmospheric in nature,” Bruce said. Chimes waver through the tracks and a guitar plucks out an almost melancholy tune. It’s different, it’s light, and Bruce describes it as even meditative.
“I think the music is a lot more introspective,” he said. “I think that personally being instrumental music it really forces the listener…you are not necessarily focused on the words or the message, so it allows the listener to get more inside their head, and allow them to interact with the music in new ways.”
It’s as far as it gets from punk music.
The band’s debut album, Walking Fields was released on May 14, and the duo kicks off the tour this Friday. What the album lacks in loudness, it makes up for in subtlety. None of the tracks are overwhelming yet it sounds like something that should be playing as the score to your life–it just fits, with everything.
At the start, the two band mates didn’t really know what they were getting in to, just that they wanted to make something new and something different. “I don’t think we had any specific ideas of what we were doing originally. I think it all came about organically,” Bruce said. Things did come together for the pair though, and in shockingly seamless ways. The synths soar in all the right places and the ambient guitar and feedback weaves between each other to balance out the tracks.
With about a year under their belt, Bruce and William’s band is still young, and still getting feelers out for the reception of the album and what works.
“There is always a learning curve,” Bruce said. “Things are starting to feel really natural.”
Peals is scheduled to play at 529 on Saturday, June 8.