Peaks – BlackTop

Peaks Riff Of The Week 08/23/2018

This week we take a look at Peaks, a self-described Dance-Punk trio that come to us all the way from Canada. This Ottawa three-piece formed thanks to the personals section in Kijiji and haven’t looked back since. After the boys met up with one another back in January 2015, they wasted no time in getting their first EP in the works. They got to work on nine songs which would eventually be titled “/\”.

Blacktop from /\

Peaks Album Cover used on riff of the week, The Eclectic Social Music Club
Album Cover from Peaks 9 song EP


Theory Analysis

Peaks utilizes a bare-bones minimalistic approach to their music which is very much part of the new modern art scene. Nick Gagné on vocals, Alex Prud’Homme, bass and Dave Brousseau on drums. Upon listening to Blacktop you could hear the echos of Royal Blood, Death from Above 1979 and Motörhead. Now that’s not to say that the band only echos their three styles; it’s just what has been captured in the opening measures.  The riff begins on the A string of the bass which is beautifully overdriven and washed in a lovely gain. Purd’Homme pulsates out an alternate picked 1/16th note rhythm (1e+ah, 2e+ah,3e+ah,4e+ah) on the A string which is then complimented with the notes from the A natural minor scale. We would have said it were simply the minor pentatonic, but after measure four it’s clear the natural minor is being used. The first measure of the riff pedals on the open A string with a vicious undertone, adding the octave on fret 12 on beats “4” and the “+” of four while hitting the open A on the “e” and the “ah,” implying that the tune is getting ready to kick off. As we move into measure 2, Prud’Homme moves down methodically to a C note on fret 3, playing it once on beat 4 then playing a D note on the “e+ah”.  With silky smooth precision and an effortless attack, Brousseau joins him pounding on the drums, repeating the riff again on measures 3 and 4. Purd’Homme and Brousseau move through the the rest of the opening riff on the F, D, E and C notes, and each get four consecutive 1/16th note strums. It’s important to note that  Prud’Homme does employ a pedal tone jump when moving between the F to D notes and E to C notes on the “ah” of beat 2 both times.  This adds to the dynamic of the tune but also makes shifting between these notes sound smoother.


We love Peaks and look forward to hearing more of their energetic, raw, dance-punk brand of rock n roll. Check out today’s Riff Of The Week on Spotify here.


The Eclectic Social Music Club

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