Ohio native delivers another slice of country rock flavoured with a touch of psychedelia and catchy pop.
Angela Perley hails from Columbus, Ohio, and first garnered attention whilst fronting her band the ‘Howlin’ Moons’ during the last decade. During this time they released two albums, ‘Hey Kid’ in 2014 which became something of an underground hit, especially across Europe, followed by 2016’s ‘Homemade Vision’ since when she’s been operating as a solo artist releasing the album ‘4:30’ towards the end of 2019 just a matter of months before the pandemic shut everything down. Now she’s back with ‘Turn Me Loose’ an album that builds on the strengths of the past whilst never straying too far from the tried and trusted format of psychedelic tinged country rock with plenty of pop sensibilities.
Expertly produced by Brandon Bankes and with the ever-present Chris Connor on guitar Perley delivers ten songs that embraces many of the facets that make up American commercial rock music with her influences spanning the previous six decades. The album opener, the infectious ‘Plug Me In’ is reminiscent of early Sheryl Crow and has hit single written all over it whilst the following track ‘Star Dreamer’ delivers a late sixties dreamy psychedelic vibe full of jangly guitars complete with Byrds-esque solo. Perley is just as comfortable when rocking’ out such as on ‘Here For You’ described as “A love song to oneself” with its blues rock riff and stinging slide guitar solo, as well as ‘Ripple’ a southern stomp with some fabulous driving bass playing from Nate Smith. Perley’s vocals have a confident swagger that effortlessly traverses the different styles and tempo and though the lyrical content lacks any great depth or clarity the confidence in delivery helps to imply that there’s something hidden in the unsaid. Throughout the album producer Bankes plays some wonderful pedal steel that helps create a more country feel to tracks such as the sedate ‘Praying For daylight’ and ‘Holding On’, while ‘Get Enough’ finds Perley wearing her influence proudly this time with a definite nod towards The Bangles.
‘Turn Me Loose’, is an album that comfortably negotiates the various forms that have come to define American Rock travelling its dusty backroads through to its urban freeways and in doing so filling the grey area between genre and generation with a mix of Amplified Americana, Outlaw Country and Roadhouse Rock ‘n’ Roll. It is true that neither musically or lyrically does the album offer up anything that is remotely new; however what it does offer are ten well-constructed songs played to a high level and delivered with a certain panache that suggests it should be a perfect fit for American Radio and see Perley’s star continue in the ascendancy.
I came across Angela just after her “Homemade Vision” release and subsequently listened to her earlier and subsequent stuff. Have to admit I thought it somewhat hit and miss. However, although I have yet to hear this latest one, the track you showcase “Plug Me In” is right up my street! Excellent. As you say, not breaking any new ground but sometimes you just say “so what …!” To my mind I thought you nailed a very accurate summation with “Amplified Americana, Outlaw Country and Roadhouse Rock ‘n’ Roll.” Your enthusiastic tone led me to think at least an 8 was coming. Once I listen I’ll let you know whether I think your 7 was a bit harsh!!
Hi Alan. Glad you enjoyed the review. Personally I feel a score of seven is still a highly respectable score that represents an album that in many ways has achieved what it set out to achieve. Now, as always this is purely a personal view, but for me for an album to achieve a higher score it needs either to offer a certain level of originality or reach a level that it itself will become a reference point for other albums within the genre. I’ll look forward to hearing what you make of the album and possibly your own rating once you’ve had a chance to listen to the whole album. Hope you enjoy.