EP Review: AC Peer – Howard’s Hue

AC Peer is a Brooklyn, USA-based alternative R&B artist who has just released his fifth EP as a solo act. Self-produced, it consists of five tracks that deliver soul, jazz and R&B for a modern audience. It’s called Howard’s Hue. Here’s my track by track review.

By Graeme Smith

The EP kicks of with Two Burns. Lively but mellow drums combine with plucked guitar, creating an arrangement which is minimal but interestingly inventive. The star is definitely AC’s vocals though. Effortlessly soulful, his delivery is emotive and, although the lyrics are kept simple, they convey a lot. I think we can all relate to the feel of being victims of the world around us they speak of. It’s a strong start.

Track two is Lindenhurst. It’s got a jazzier feel than Two Burns. The bass is wandering and the percussion feels a little free-form. Again, the instrumentals are kept minimal in order to give the vocals space on centre stage. Lindehurst is a storytelling track. It runs at a rural pace while giving a sense of life, its light and its shadow.

The EP is divided into two halves by the short and expressive instrumental interlude AquaACP11. It’s perhaps the record’s most experimental moment, drawing on a futuristic style, or at least what we thought the future would be like in the ’80s.

The second half starts with Not Peer’s Morgan. It’s in this track that AC’s sense of humour comes through the most strongly. The wordplay is delicious and there’s such a wonderful attention to detail in its lyrics. Musically, things are kept fresh, with contemporary blues elements and drums that break all the rules yet work.

Then, finally, things are brought to a close with Plug Me In. The mellowness of the previous four tracks are set aside for some high-energy psychedelia. I heard elements of The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Parliament, mixed and mastered into something fresh and modern. I think in the case of this EP, AC has saved his best for last – it’s a unique and boundary-pushing conclusion.

If you like jazz and blues then Howard’s Hue is a must listen. If you don’t normally go for those genres, then it’s a good place to start. It’s fresh and interesting while not being offputtingly obtuse. Running through its lyrics are human stories with which any of us can relate.

You can listen to the whole of Howard’s Hue below.