I recently found myself in Glasgow on a cold Monday evening downstairs in The 13th Note. I’m a big believer in getting along to see all the bands on a bill. This night I was lucky, because first on the bill was Peplo. This Glasgow based four-piece’s sound won me over from the top of the stairs as I walked down into that basement. At the time I couldn’t have explained to you what it was in particular I liked. It was, all of it!
The band feature Cit Lennox (vocals), Iain O’Donnell (Guitar), Mark Hinds (Drums) and Danny Young (Bass). I asked Iain how Peplo formed.
“Mark Hinds, our drummer, and I met in high school and bonded over a shared love of 60s/70s music (Mark turned me on to bands like Zeppelin and The Who, while I was a real Beatles fanatic). We spent the remainder of secondary school performing in different bands and music ensembles (blues, jazz, samba). Throughout university and beyond, we played in a power trio (releasing material initially as ‘Room 039’, then latterly under the moniker ‘Fair Weather Soldiers’). When the Soldiers disbanded, I answered a Gumtree ad that was posted by a vocalist looking for musicians to form a band – Cit Lennox!”
“Cit was studying theatre at Glasgow Uni. She had performed widely in the Scottish traditional music scene, and was now wanting to set sights on something more alternative and pop. After a year Mark, Cit, and I decided to strike out on our own; we rolled the Gumtree dice one more time and won Daniel Young, our bassist! He fitted in immediately. Daniel shared similar indie sensibilities and we could finish each other’s Simpsons quotes! Daniel also finally gave Mark someone to talk to in the band about football (Cit and I prefer daft YouTube channels and scouting out brunch spots). Mark describes Peplo as “Gumtree’s biggest success”!”
To date there has been four singles released and their fifth ‘Stranger Than Her Bedfellows’ has just been let loose to the world. Before we get to that, lets explore those previous singles.
First up is ‘Tall’. A sweeping ballad which really makes full use of the incredible voice of Lennox. Couched in the reverb-soaked harmonies and chiming guitars glistening like icicles in the sun. The dynamic arrangement lifted by the always nimble and complimentary bass. It’s a very accomplished piece of song writing and one which really soars when performed live.
‘Katarina’s Got My Tongue’ had me reaching for my notes to grab the title to check out later. This one really hooked in me in with its guitars which hark back to Postcard Records, Orange Juice and Josef K. O’Donnell playing stridently and with real purpose, never afraid to sit back and let the band have their space when required. As ever, Lennox turning in an engaging and uplifting vocal. I swear you can hear her smile.
‘Just to Get to You’ came out next. The band sound increasingly more confident in their instruments and production values here. The arrangement alone with its soaring highs in the chorus to the slow burn build of the verses is really noteworthy. There’s humour in the lyrics and a gallus swagger to Lennox’s delivery. The bits where the bass and drums lift into double time are really effective too. It’s a cracker of a song which completely grips your attention from start to finish.
The QMU Session came out next with three tracks the band performed in August 2020 to support Glasgow University’s Virtual Freshers, at the Queen Margaret Union. Here you’ll find the sublime and heartfelt ‘Love is Fun’, the jaunty and bitter ‘Empty’ and nestled in between there’s an absolute gem of a song.
‘Fly With Crows’ has it all. The guitar is crazy good, picking out arpeggios up the neck one minute sweeping chords the next. Hinds creates a cracking rhythmic structure to hang the whole song on along with Youngs dancing bassline. For me this is Lennox at her finest. The sheer power of her delivery in the chorus is all conquering. It was hearing this song live that made me want to write the blog you’re reading now.
‘Goodnight Maria’ came out at the start of this year. It’s a song performed with the confidence of a band who know who they are and know how to be themselves. Just listen to how the drums call the shots on this one, pounding out the ever-changing time. This sounds like a stadium sized song, and they haven’t even released an album yet.
That brings us bang up to date with their latest release ‘Stranger Than Her Bedfellows’. This is an exotic sounding romp of a number. Heavily effected vocals on the chorus bring something new to the sonic palate as does the wailing guitar solo. Peplo are in full experimental mode and it pays off in spades. Lyrically it’s a wordy song meaning Lennox has to deliver her performance at pace. Needless to say, she rises to the occasion and knocks it out the park. Again, our rhythm section is the lynchpin to making this complex arrangement work. Drums and bass working in perfect harmony. This really bodes well for what’s next.
The band are currently recording their forthcoming LP at the world famous Chem19 Studios. No word on a release date or title as yet. Rest assured I’ll bring you a track-by-track breakdown once it’s announced.
Once in a while you hear a band that you can’t pin an influence on. A band that are doing their own thing and being themselves. Peplo are that band. You really need to catch them live. The infectious, joyous energy they create lifts you up and slaps a smile on your face. Here I am, nearly a week later and that smile hasn’t shifted. This is why I love music and finding new bands to listen to. This is why I love Peplo.
‘Stranger Than Her Bedfellows’ and all the other songs I’ve mentioned here are available now over on the Peplo Bandcamp page along with some cool tote bags and badges.
You can follow Peplo on social media here…