Black Peaks broke through with the help of radio play. Sure, they said yes to every opportunity, pushed themselves to breaking point to spread ‘Statues’ as far as it dared to dream, and were backed by a brilliantly robust collection of screaming bangers, but the door breaking down came via the airwaves. And so, it verges on ridiculous that second album ‘All That Divides’ doesn’t have a single track that’s written with that instant glamour in mind. There’s only one song that’s over in less than four minutes, the thrashing, ailing roar of ‘Electric Fires’, and at no point do the band look at ‘Going Pop’, a view that more and more bands are taking with every new release. Black Peaks have always done things their own way though.
From the anxiety-riddled opening of ‘Can’t Sleep’, the band’s second album takes the expected difficulty and toys with it. There are moments of shining, mass hysteria. Big choruses and bigger conviction, but there are also times when the band go fully off the deep end. Weird, wonderful and winding, ‘All That Divides manages to feel concise in loads of wondrous chaos. Excitement is king. The band take the loud/quiet dynamic that tumbled through ‘Statues’ and push it to each and every edge. They fill in the blanks with new textures, new colours and reckless adventure. This isn’t an album of extremes. This is an album that does it all, while still feeling dashing and dangerously close to the edge.
The band can swing with such heavy hits because there’s a comfort in who they are. They’re never trying to be anything else. Rather than the escape that ‘Statues’ so relentlessly offered, ‘All That Divides’ is a record that deals in the horrid everyday. Angry at the state of things, moved by the lack of empathy and feeling alone surrounded by selfishness, Black Peaks bellow unity from the rooftops. It’s not a political record, but it does dish out the blame. There are songs inspired by the refugee crisis, government indecision and the general, terrible state of things. They’ve never been afraid to be heard but this time out, the band have found their voice and have reason to use it. Rather than dwelling in the mire though, Black Peaks want hope. They need it.
After a tour cycle that almost ate the band alive, the power of caring for others is fresh in their minds. On 'All That Divides', it’s held up like a beacon. A call to arms entwined, it’s a record of struggle and resistance. It doesn’t have the answers, but it knows they’re out there. It wants to find them together.