Words by Gabe Sander
Artist – Angela Perley
Album / Label – 4:30 / Self-release
Rating – 7 / 10
When was the last time you were awake at 4:30 a.m.? Musicians, from Frank Zappa to Elvis, are often night owls. I’m not sure if this is just practical, as most gigs are late at night, or if there really is a magical quality about nighttime; the effervescent glow of the moon reflecting eerily empty streets, creating a kind of musical “golden hour.”
Local artist Angela Perley thinks so… “My creative time begins as soon as the sun goes down. I’m definitely a night owl. I don’t know what it is… but there’s something special about it. It’s dark outside, and it’s quiet.” The first and title track of Perley’s new L.P., 4:30, bathes in the serenity which she sings, “I’m ready, so ready.” The most serene song of the album, 4:30 serves as a slow, reflective, personal introduction between the artist and her listeners.
It’s no surprise that the true rock drive of the album kicks in following on the second track, Let Go, which features Perley on guitar rocking a Foo Fighters-sounding pedaling. Perley’s voice is strong and confident, yet with a note of innocence. Back in Town combines elements of the Rolling Stones’ “Exile on Main Street” with a heavy country influence. Perley’s voice commands the style and authority of the country music genre, transforming the flat, garage rock voice of the prior two tracks into a rebellious country gander, without sacrificing the integrity of her lyrics.
The fourth track of the album, He Rides High, is a slow ballad, caught in a musical lazy river, reminiscent of an Old Western sunset. Perley, a self-taught guitarist, is adept at what she does: simple, motivic style. She won’t wow you with glamourous licks and solos, but her love songs are much better suited to this style of playing.
Aesthetically and anecdotally, Perley is a talented lyricist, finding soothing and melodious words to describe subjects in her songs. In the fifth track, Don’t Look Back Mary, Perley paints a vivid portrait:
She’s got her mother’s eyes, sweet alibis
And any man can comprehend
She’s got something, something that’s used
It’s clear Perley draws the empathy of the listener on her songs. Snake Charmer describes a girl with the ability to relieve the pain of the men around her. Dangerous Love provides new energy in the album with its chorus, multi-tracked in both the guitar and vocals as well as an organ feature.
4:30 draws on a universal understanding of love and heartbreak. Friends, the eighth track, seduces the listener with impassioned, soulful vocals and a nice hard rock drive. The album does not take much liberty stylistically, oscillating from country ballad-influenced rock to a more classic rock sound. Ruby Girl and Local Heroes continue the trend of slower ballads, with a nice concert grand piano feature in the latter track.
Lost and Found supplied the album with its peak of blues guitar. For someone self-taught, her ability to solo and incorporate syncopation is truly impressive, channeling a conservatory jazz improvisor.
Walk with Me modulates to an eerie minor, which reminded me of the lyrical dissonance of “The One I Love” by R.E.M. in the way it gives you goosebumps in its ultimate location on the L.P., its chorus blasting a tri-tone on the words, Lonely Boy.
Overall, the album remains a little monotone stylistically, but does combine a lot of real positives. Perley’s voice is a hit, showcasing a strong, country-inspired rock voice throughout the album. At no point are her vocals detracting to the album, and compliment the other positives, her lyricism and guitar skills. Perley offers a catalogue of longing, pain, and infatuation through this outlet, and she demonstrates real skill.
I would like to see her branch out musically more; the album offers glimpses into country and blues, and at times grooved a la Mick Jagger. The drums simply served to keep time, and the piano and organ features were short-stinted. When she experiments with additional voice patterns, it works. This isn’t an ambitious album, but Perley’s talent carries the album to being very listenable and musically proficient.
- Let Go
- Back In Town
- He Rides High
- Don’t Look Back Mary
- Snake Charmer
- Dangerous Love
- Ruby Girl
- Local Heroes
- Lost And Found
- Walk With Me
Angela Perley – Let Go