Peach & Quiet – Beautiful Thing (review)

Peach & Quiet – Beautiful Thing (Peach & Quiet)

Beautiful Thing is the latest release from the Canadian duo of Heather Read and Jonny Miller.  

The striking African Peach Moth on the cover of the new album from Peach & Quiet is something that we can all relate to. Post-pandemic, we’re all looking for something we can hope for – a fresh start. Like a lot of albums coming out now, this album was largely written during the recent lockdown.  Yet, there’s a warmth and reassurance that weaves itself throughout these twelve tracks.

On the opening cut, “Beautiful Thing,” Miller sings “I got waylaid and lost / but I figured it out” – a sentiment I think we can all relate to, as our worlds were turned upside down.

We’ve certainly been through some dark times, and that’s perfectly captured in “Pockets Empty.” Read confesses “Now I’m the one with an empty house / no honey and a big black eye,” graphically detailing the end of a poisonous relationship.  The last thing you hear on the track is Read’s voice, allowing that pain to linger. 

On the soulful, “This Time,” Read says over and over “This time /  I’ll get it right” – as if, by repeating this, it will somehow become reality.  By the end of the song, she realizes “you didn’t want me to be someone else / so I became a better version of myself.”  And, by the end of the song, she changes her tune to  “this time / I GOT it right.”

Haven’t we all fantasized about leaving everything far behind and starting over?  In “Oklahoma or Arkansas,” Miller does just that, as he sings “notify the country / and my next of kin / they can search my name / but that won’t help / you’ll never find me / I’ll be someone else.”

Good albums get elevated by little things – like the tremelo guitar on “Beautiful Thing,” or the weepy pedal steel on “Calgary Skyline,” or the echoes of the vocals on “Behind the Sun.” “Save Me Tonight” has an interesting keyboard that suddenly shows up near the end of the song, creating tension.

Read is a rather versatile vocalist – she approaches each of her songs with a different persona.  Obviously exposing a rawness on the aforementioned “Pockets Empty,” but her voice is angelic, clear and soaring on “Just Before the Dawn.” She pleads on “This Time,” and whispers the verses on “Song From a Tree.”

Both Read and Miller duet on “That is For Sure.” – I love the blend of the two of them together.

The album closes with “When You’re Gone,” featuring a loping melody and slide guitar.  Things end abruptly as Miller sings “I’ll see you in my dreams.”

One thing I really like about this album is that nothing overstays its welcome.  There are several times when I was shocked that the song was already over.  The only exception is the slow burn of “Behind the Sun,” which clocks in at almost six minutes. An enjoyable listen that begs to be repeated. –Tony Peters