Mark Peters’ debut EP ‘Spirits’ is the best thing I’ve heard all year — no lie

Photo by Ewa Podgórska

I met Vienna-based English singer songwriter Mark Peters when he was recommended to me by another local musician as a talented artist that I may want to interview. Particularly as Peters was going to be releasing his first EP a few months down the road.

I checked out Mark’s music on YouTube, loved the few songs I heard, and so met with him. His first interview here on Leo Sigh was the result.

A couple of months later, I saw Mark play live for the first time and was blown away.

By his music — folk, blues, a little bit of jazz, with a tinge of rock — and by his unassuming stage presence.

Just a soft-spoken, sweet, lovely and very handsome man who plays the most gorgeous songs. (Oh and yes, if you have a girlfriend, you may want to guard her closely, as every woman I know who has met Mark has fallen quickly under his spell).

On October 31st, Mark Peters released his debut EP — Spirits — on the new Vienna-based independent record label Audio Heart Records.

A couple of weeks before that, I was privileged to attend his album pre-release concert at Aera here in Vienna, where the audience was treated to the EP tracks played live, along with a cadre of superb local musicians. It was then that I also received a copy of his EP.

Don’t let anyone ever tell you Vienna does not have talented indie musicians. Bloody brilliant EP pre-release concert last night from my boy @markpetersmusic. One of the best concerts I’ve been to in Vienna (NO joke!💃) Absolutely crowded (never seen so many people for a local indie artist), and a superb performance. Three encores! And such fabulous music from Mark and a slew of Vienna-based indie musicians (in particular my other boys @fabiannatter, @markus_manahl and @danfisheraudioheart😙). Mark’s debut EP ‘ Spirits’ comes out at the end of the month (and it’s SO good!😙). I’ll have a review article up on a few days before. And here’s me been saying for ages “I don’t know many people in Vienna yet”. Realized last night, I knew half the men there because they’re all in bands I’ve interviewed. So can I say #ABrilliantNight and #LovingMyLife 🙆 #BoysInBands😙 #Groupie😂 #Aera #MarkPeters #Spirits #Music #IndieMusic #LiveMusic #Concerts #Gigs #MusicJournalist #LeoSigh #Wien #Vienna #Austria #IgersVienna #IgersAustria — And thanks for going with me! Had a FAB night. 😙

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Spirits. It’s a brilliant 6-track debut that, as much as I already liked Mark’s music, I was actually quite taken aback by just how good it was. And how catchy and addictive every track on it is.

So much so, Spirits has not only been on repeat, repeat, repeat almost every day since I got it, but it is my favorite release of the year. Really.

Spirits Track By Track

Spirits starts with Memories, one of the more folk-based songs of the EP.

Ella Deer joins Mark for the harmonies on this one, and gives it a softness that is quite touching. It’s also a track that had me dancing around my kitchen as soon as it began to play.

Because the melody is addictive, the guitar and drum beat are catchy enough to carry this entire track that you can so gently move to, but then Clemens Leopold adds this goosebump-inducing cello solo during the second half of the track that is just gorgeous.

As for the lyrics — “As I hold you close, and I say here that my best is still to come” — I’m not so sure about that. Because they don’t get much better than this.

Move Me is Mark Peter’s next offering and, if it is possible to have a favorite on this simply brilliant EP, because I love every track, it is this one for me.

As it is the slow guitar start and Mark’s soft vocals that quickly move into a harder, bluesy, rock-tinged offering of almost desperation in both vocals and music that got to me. Because this is the one that will make every woman that listens to it want to find a guy that feels this way about her.

As for Mark’s voice here? Stunning.

You Go Low is one of the most rock influenced track on the EP. It is also a song that Mark gives its due vocally, as well as a track that, to me, is the most dance-worthy. In that alone in a dark bar, four beers in, and feeling a bit melancholy way we all experience one in a while.

Am I a simple machine?” No, I’d say not. Because there is nothing machine-like about any of this. It’s all high emotion. And bloody beautiful.

24 Years’ sweet folk start doesn’t stay mellow for long. So ease your way in quickly and wait for that massive chorus, because it is enormous.

This one is also a track that does not let you settle for long because, just as you’re enjoying that folk loveliness again, here returns the huge chorus, hard insistent drums, rich harmonies and a vocalist that is so good because he is as wildly emotional as he is technically superb.

As for ballads on Spirits, Chinese Torture fills that slot as, initially, it is a slower offering, sweeter in sound if not in lyrics.

This one is also the one with the intense guitar squeak. Something some people do not like to hear in a guitar-driven song but me, I love. Especially here. As that gorgeous rasping squeak illustrates perfectly the gut-wrenching nature of the soul-crushing relationship he is singing about.

It was like a dose of Chinese torture. Every cut she made was deeper than the first”.

The Chinese Torture chorus is another quick massive explosion of sound as well. Something Mark Peters does on almost every track to great effect.

And my wishing well, it has run dry of water“. Because when you’re in that kind of relationship, there comes a point where you know it is never going to be anything else.

And that’s a whole other agony unlike anything else you will ever experience. But an agony that comes with an intense anger that is beautifully expressed in that huge chorus.

And then we come to the EP’s title track. Spirits.

And another one that starts off slow, a gentle old-fashioned song with an almost Greensleeves feel to it, and a rich guitar, again with that gorgeous raspy squeak. Then, again, that enormous chorus arrives and you’re off on another emotional roller-coaster ride.

Just like with the entire EP really.

Buy it, buy it, buy it

So, to close. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that Vienna, Austria does not have some of the best indie artists on the planet. Because it does.

But how has a singer songwriter this phenomenally talented, and who writes such stunningly beautiful songs, escaped most people’s attention for this long?

Because Mark Peter’s Spirits EP is something I am recommending to everyone I know. Everyone.

As it is literally the best thing I have heard in a long time. Every song, as well as the heart-wrenching feel and depth of emotion of the EP as a whole.

So…buy it. Buy it. Buy it.

Which you can do on every major digital music platform.

Meanwhile, listen to the entire EP in the Spotify widget below. Again. And again. And again.

Because this lovely thing — it will grab you, and soon you’ll be just like me. In your kitchen, head phones on, music cranked as loud as it will go. And dancing.

About Michelle Topham

Brit-American journalist based in Austria, former radio DJ at 97X WOXY, and Founder/CEO of Leo Sigh. I've covered anime, manga, K-drama and music news for over a decade.

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