Album Review: Peter Woolston ‘Hope on my Horizon’

When big events like the FIFA world cup or the Olympics is on it is lead by a huge single that promotes the event. Why is that?
Because it’s one of life’s truths is that music unites people, it brings people together in a way that mere words simply can’t.

Peter Woolston understands this basic truth. As the Musical Ambassador for Mercy Ships New Zealand he most likely understands this more than many others. For those who are unaware Mercy Ships NZ gives free life-changing medical care to the poorest parts of our planet. Peter sees how music can rally people for a cause, give hope to those who have none and promote a need for those who can remain unseen and unknown to most of the world.This is the best place to start to explain the kind of heart that goes behind an album like this. This isn’t just about melody, it’s about life and death and the string that unites us… and that is much bigger than just music.

So what about the music?
‘Hope On My Horizon’ is a great anthem to support such a cause such Mercy Ships and it’s the kind of song that catches your attention in the way you would expect from an advertisement or promo for this type of cause. And essentially that’s what it is a great pop song with a great chorus that is non-offensive and covers the widest range of tastes. It’s actually hard to get this right in this type of setting as Peter delicately straddles the deepness and the need of such a cause with something poppy and palatable without being just cheesy and therefore lose any sense of realness or credibility.

Peter tunes in the Southern hemisphere rock sound with ‘Better Man Someday.’ It’s a sound that sits nicely among great bands like INXS and Hunters & collectors. He paints a very real picture of the balance of time, “I crawl in homebound treacle, Then loosen up my hangman’s tie,” as he laments the struggle to become a better man as he dances with time and the schedule of routine while living a meaningful life.

I love anyone who can turn a phrase and ‘Dead Man Walking’ is Peter giving the legendary lyricist Steven Taylor a run for his money. He spins phrases such as “If DKNY hugged Levi’s and kissed my Kenneth Coles, would Family Circle call me square?”. Often clever wordplay like this can be read just ‘as is’ however often it’s when the depth of the lyrics hit that people start to unravel the phrases more and at a much greater level.
The fact that the song rocks also helps as it’s taste in quirky often pointed lyrics help add to the rock and roll feel. The rest of the album fit’s nicely into this rock feel – Peter’s style suits the rock feel best.

The album finished with the rocker ‘Obsession’ and like any good rock song it hooks in from the start with a great pounding bass filling up the room and a pulse that can’t be ignored. But that’s not where this song finishes,  a lot like life it’s all about ending well and half way through the song it changes gear. Everything drops out and leaves the drums marching time… the drone of a guitar starts to fill the space and the song lifts and then lifts again.

Life, Death, Hope and a future… music has a way of bringing these thing into perspective and sometimes the best way for these things to make an impact is to enter into our hearts and minds covertly. What better way to do that in the guise of a simple rock song… the catch and hook pull you in and before you know it you’re thinking about such things. One of life’s truths is that music unites people, it brings people together and makes people think deeper in ways that mere words simply can’t. Peter Woolston understands this basic truth.