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A Peek inside 

Sixties pop is the key to Laura Peek’s heart, and the lush-sounding orchestration on her new album, releasing Friday at 1313.

Halifax-based singer-song-writer Laura Peek wants to tour more across Canada in support of her sophomore record, Key, which releases at 1313 on February 4, but she has reservations about her success on the road.

"It's hard when no one knows who we are," Peek laughs.

Of course, Peek is being modest. After all, with her 2007 release From the Photographs, Peek and her backing band, The Winning Hearts, gained critical acclaim for her character-driven pop songs. Mixing bright storytelling and consistently catchy hits that Peek jokes she learned from the "Randy Newman school of thought," the young songwriter had constant radio play on community radio stations and even toured with Buck 65.

Key, although falling under 30 minutes in length, is a remarkably lush-sounding record, especially considering the limited number of instruments it employs. In the three years since Photographs, Peek has become more interested in orchestration, although she maintains a minimalist approach to the addition of new instruments. "I knew I wanted some other sounds," Peek says, "but I knew I had to be very specific with the instruments I chose."

Where some artists would follow up a well-received album with bigger and more complex songs, Peek stripped it down, focusing on three main accompanying instruments. Incorporating cello, flute and accordion into her milieu, as opposed to the bass, drum and piano combo of her previous album, Peek creates a a compact set of songs for Key that show off her love for '60s pop songwriters like Harry Nilsson and early Motown.

"I liked having that limitation because it allows you to make more interesting choices," Peek says.

Laura Peek w/Bad Vibrations, Friday, February 4, 8pm, 1313, 1313 Hollis Street, $8/$15 w/CD

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