24 November 2022
“Pan” a unique album filled with adventures by Sussex-based singer-songwriter OneNamedPeter
OneNamedPeter is a singer/songwriter from the United Kingdom who writes, performs, and produces all of his own music. He also creates music videos and all of his artwork. He lives in Sussex, England, at Latitude 50.89 North and Longitude 0.058 East. And he’s influenced by great singer-songwriters who blazed their own trail, such as Joni Mitchell, David Bowie, Kate Bush, and Bob Dylan, as well as more recent sonic pioneers like Frank Ocean.
In JM Barrie’s Peter Pan, life (and death) are described as “an awfully big adventure.” “I wanted my music to be more adventurous as well,” OneNamedPeter says of his sixth studio album, “Pan.” “There will be no three-verses-three-choruses; no consistent 4/4 beat, no cliched guitar chords; and no moon or June lyrics.” Instead, there’s a playful piano, a moody cello, and shimmering percussion underpinning strange songs about drought, flood, elves, and alchemy. “It’s always tempting to make crowd-pleasing music that you think people want to hear,” Peter says. This time, I did the opposite. But I’m hoping that some people will want to hear it because it’s so unique.”
A man develops feelings for a statue. The statue does not reciprocate his feelings. This story of unrequited love between flesh and stone is told in heartbroken tones by Peter, who declares, “I run my fingers down your chiseled chest / I put my hands upon your hips / I stare right at you like a man obsessed / I kiss your unresponsive lips.” The music then becomes unbearably beautiful, rendering the singer speechless, and the track becomes an instrumental. “This song just happened, no planning, as with so many songs on this album,” Peter says. “It’s called alchemy!”
This piano/cello lament reflects the plight of all adolescent boys everywhere. “I was that boy once,” Peter says, “and you never forget how it feels to be so out of place in the world.” so insecure about yourself, and yet so beautiful that you don’t even realize it!”
A doom-laden piano riff begins, followed by a dry rasp of a voice croaking: See / see this scorched earth/ see the skin/ I live in. So begins a parched lament about a severe drought afflicting both the earth and the singer himself. Peter begs for “just a drop to quench my thirst,” pant throughout the song for “water, water,” and promises at the end: Husk / husk of a man/ I’ll come back / If I can. “Of all the things that could inspire a song, a hosepipe ban (proclaimed the day I wrote this in summer 2022) is one of the most unexpected!” says Peter.
The rain that Peter pleaded for in Scorched Earth arrives… in biblical proportions! The piano has been replaced by strummed acoustic guitar and lazy bass, then swooning strings arrive and Peter whispers in your ear, warning: You better find yourself a raft to cling to/ Cos the water is about to flow/ There’s a torrent coming to engulf us/ In a symphony of H2O. Instead of a raft, an Arc is required!
A halting piano melody; strange, dispersed percussive sounds; horns heralding… something Then a voice says, “This is the story of a boy named Peter…” Never exhorts the listener to take risks, to be adventurous, to never grow old, never grow up, and to never lose the wonder of childhood. “I found this picture of myself when I was four,” Peter says. “I put on some elf ears, and voilà: I’m Peter Pan for the album cover.” As Peter exhorts you to: Hold my hand, climb up on this ledge/ Hold my hand, jump off the edge,” the song builds to a wild cacophony.
Continuing the Peter Pan theme, Peter joins the other outcasts who “have no place in society” in The Lost Boys. He declares, “I want to live by the lagoon, camp in a wigwam, and howl at the moon,” and he does so, unafraid of the monstrous sounds that populate the island and slowly encroach on the track. He promises, as J.M. Barrie’s Peter does in the book, that it will be a huge adventure.
“This track, Alchemy, is basically my recipe for songwriting,” Peter explains. “In some ways, music is purely mathematical, but nothing good happens in a song without some inexplicable magic, and that’s what I spend my time looking for, in a trial-and-error process akin to alchemy.” As the song begins, he wonders aloud, “Can I cast a spell in words and music?” Then he literally does that, stirring sulphur, quicksilver, and a slew of other exotic ingredients into a medley of musical and magical elements to conjure up bronze, silver, and finally, gold!
Wings is the album’s shortest but most musically daring track, flying through twists and turns from bare piano in the verses to a steamroller of sound in the choruses before ending abruptly after a dizzying flight.
Pan concludes on a joyful note of self-affirmation, the discovery of a heaven within, as Peter repeats the line, “I feel something happening inside me,” and asks the listener to join him. Can you feel it through your skin?
On November 25, Pan the sixth studio album of onenamedpeter will be released.
For more information about OneNamedPeter and his adventures album