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Peace Chord Unheard of Hope


Best-known for being a core member of the thrilling Canadian art-punk collective Crack Cloud, Daniel Robertson emerges this year with a new project, Peace Chord. It’s quite a gear change, revealing a far more minimalist and restrained impulse than he’s hinted at before.

Throughout the album’s seven tracks, the key elements of voice and reverberating piano chords strike an understated and intimate mood. Indeed, the ruminations on the theme of introspection, self-reflection and grief make Peace Chord the archetypal album to come out of lockdown.

Contemplative opener Seventy Times Seven sets the tone, with Robertson’s zephyr-like vocals exploring love and trauma over haunting piano. The poignant Empty in This House, with its overlaid and lingering vocals, feels reminiscent of Frank Ocean’s seminal Pink + White while Juno is a slow building and emotive instrumental in the Erased Tapes vein.

While soothing vocals and celestial instrumentation are the order of the day on Peace Chord, there are moments, as on the horizon-skimming Spectral Processor, where Robertson’s use of vintage synths create a different, harsher mood altogether. Do these risk destroying the atmospheres that have been so carefully drawn? Perhaps. Still, what stands out in Peace Chord is the delicate fragility of Robertson’s sound worlds, encapsulating the ethereal serenity that the album’s title suggests.