The press kit for Make it or Break it describes the sound as pop punk, but really this is absurdly catchy indie/garage rock with strong punk influences. The debut album from Peter118, which is a solo effort from Peter Field of the punk band Ambassadors of Shalom. Of course, a seven song “album” when we’re talking punk rock stylings is a bit of a stretch as it clocks in at just over 12 minutes, but that’s really not the point.
Peter Field originally started out in the punk band Senseless, which even had some nice things said about them in Kerrang magazine back in the day. In 2005, things changed when Peter became a Christian and dedicated his life to spreading the Gospel. As part of this change, Peter was in the band Ambassadors of Shalom and must have had some of the songwriting duties there as the songs “United We Stand”, “Break ‘Em Out”, and “We Don’t Need It” on Make It or Break It first appeared on the AOS album Abdicate Self (which I totally recommend).
The first single from the album is the song “Radio”, complete with jangly guitars and underlying punk attitude, which makes for an interesting contrast. The chorus is all bright and pretty while the verses have that sneering punk tone to them. This is simply one of those catchy, happy songs that big tough hardcore guys hate to admit they like (voice of experience). From what I can tell, this song has done well even all the way over in Japan, which is probably a good story. Influences abound in this album and are similar to those of AOS, think English punk bands with some Beatles thrown in.
The opening guitar riffs on “21 Again” and “Perfect King” made me think things were changing back to more full on punk rock and these would be the hardest songs on the album, but by no means are they terribly out of place amid the poppier songs around them. In general, the songs talk about one’s walk with God throughout everyday life and how some things become less important when Christ becomes the center of your life.
The three AOS songs remade for this album make for a good case study in how to remake a song as these original songs were more traditional punk rock in tone and style and the remakes are poppier and likely appeal to a wider audience, but lose nothing in terms of impact or providing a good listening experience. In the Peter118 version of “Break ‘Em Out”, the vocals in the verses come more to the forefront and his English accent is more prominent, which adds a cool touch. The Peter118 version of “United We Stand” is faster in tempo than the original and restructures some of the verse parts that really change it from a gang pile singalong song to one that would get a crowd head bobbing and bouncing all over the place. Inserting the music starts and stops into the song really works well and was a stroke of genius. Perhaps the biggest change is in “We Don’t Need it Anymore” which goes acoustic in the Peter118 version. These versions are different enough that the songs feel like they are new and yet still somehow familiar.
I liked the Ambassadors of Shalom album when it came out last year, so in some respects, since Peter118 was in that band and remade some of their songs for his solo project, it is no surprise that I like Make it or Break It. I really do think, however, that these are two albums that really stand on their own and likely would appeal to different audiences. Make it or Break it has that crossover appeal to it, that certain catchiness to the songs that is hard to deny (and describe).
Written by John Jackson
1. Don’t Listen to a Word I Say
3. Break Em Out
4. United We Stand
5. 21 Again
6. We Don’t Need It
7. Perfect King
Peter 118 Field – Guitars, vocals, drums. bass
Record Label: In Presence Records/Thumper Punk Records, March 2015
Music video for ‘Radio’
Music video for ‘Break Em Out’