Peter Coyle

Reach for the Sun

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The voice is the same, but there is a noticeable difference between the solo material of Peter Coyle and his work with the Lotus Eaters. Featuring two tracks from his outstanding 2001 album The Mood Machine, Reach for the Sun offers a sample of the acoustic-leaning direction he has taken on his own. While the Lotus Eaters were usually stripped down as well (the exception being the reunion album Silentspace with its stunning electronic and trip-hop touches), Reach for the Sun is almost like a folk record. The title track is sweetly sung jangle and strum, an emotionally uplifting blast of summer light that was the catchiest song on The Mood Machine. The late Nick Drake was among Coyle's influences, and one can certainly hear Drake's ghost in Coyle's plaintive crooning, especially on the seductive "Phoenix." "Phoenix" is easily one of Coyle's best, his whispered singing gently caressing the sumptuous guitar plucking. While the live version of "Reach for the Sun" doesn't add much to the original, the concert performances of "Butterfly" and "Running Down the River" are breathtakingly beautiful. On "Butterfly" Coyle develops an intimate relationship with his audience that only few artists can achieve; it's as fragile and pretty as Drake's starkest, quietest moments. On "Running Down the River" Coyle aims for the blues, and as his voice flows with the swamp-tinged beat of the rhythm section, he hypnotizes the listener in taking a nighttime swim with him into the bayou. At only five tracks Reach for the Sun does an excellent job of summarizing Coyle's eclectic palate and his individual vision beyond the Lotus Eaters.

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