Singer-songwriter Nick Perri is joining southern rock band Blackberry Smoke for a series of live dates next week. The live dates, set to run from Sept. 10-15, are all drive-in concerts that will take Perri and his fellow musicians — Brian Weaver (bass), and Zil Fessler (drums) — from Virginia up to Massachusetts. They are in support of Sun Via, the recently released album from Perri and his larger backing back, The Underground Thieves. Released independently by the band Aug. 14, the 10-song record will find appeal among a wide range of listeners through its musical and lyrical content, each of which will be discussed here. While each noted element is key in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation, its production and mixing is just as important to the noted overall picture. It will also be noted later. All three items are important in their own way to the whole of the album. All things considered, they make Sun Via one of the most surprisingly interesting albums released in the rock community so far this year.
Nick Perri and the Underground Thieves’ debut album Sun Via is an intriguing first offering from the band. That is meant in a positive fashion. The interest in the record stems in part from its musical arrangements. The arrangements in question display a variety of influences. Case in point is the record’s finale ‘White Noise.’ The wall of sound approach in this song’s arrangement combines influences from the likes of Oasis and Pink Floyd while also adding in a touch of David Bowie influence to add even more depth to the whole. While the influences are noticeable, audiences will be glad to know that Perri and company used those influences to make their own unique song here rather than just rip off any specific songs from said acts. The whole makes this arrangement a powerful exit for the album and just one example of what makes the album’s arrangements so important to its whole. ‘Fall’ also boasts a bit of that Pink Floyd influence, just in a different sense. Moving on, ‘Feeling Good,’ the album’s opener, takes a distinctly different approach in its arrangement. Right from the song’s opening notes, its arrangement lends itself to comparisons to works from blues rock great Joe Bonamassa. At the same time, listeners can also make comparisons here to works from the likes of The Black Keys and Royal Blood. That comparison can be made through the use of the (Hammond?) organ, the fuzzed effect in the guitar and the percussion alongside the bass line. The whole creates a sound that is so infectious and memorable. It’s just one more way in which the album’s musical arrangements prove so important to its presentation. That is because it shows again, the diversity in the record’s musical side. The album also presents a classic rock influence in the form of ‘I Want You.’ This song is a ballad that white original and unique in its own presentation, clearly shows the noted influence. There is also a more modern pop rock influence exhibited in this record in the form of ‘I Want You,’ and ‘Daughters & Sons.’ There are other songs that show the aforementioned Pink Floyd influence along with all of this. Simply put, the musical arrangements that are featured throughout Sun Via give listeners plenty of reason in themselves, to hear this record. They arrangements are just a portion of what makes Sun Via stand out. Its lyrical themes are just as valuable to its whole as its musical arrangements.
The lyrical themes featured throughout Sun Via are wholly familiar to any listener. Case in point is the theme featured in ‘I Want You.’ Perri sings at one point, “Baby, please come home/Baby, I want you.” Little else needs noting to know the song’s lyrical theme. This is someone trying to get the woman he loves to come back after the pair has obviously had some form of falling out. In this case, the song’s subject is not using the familiar “oh, woe is me” mindset in trying to get his woman back, but rather, trying at this point, to be hopeful that he can convince her to return. It’s just one phase of such a situation. It will connect with any listener.
‘Daughters & Sons’ presents its own unique introspective lyrical theme. The song opens with Perri singing, “I see the writing on the wall/They say the futility of it all/Why do the evil get it all/While the good one die youg/Leaving daughters and sons.” From there he sings, “Are you aware/Of the little things that you do/That you do/To make people love you/Are you aware of the little things that you say/Turning the blue skies to gray/But I see/The writing on the wall/Facing he futility of it all/Why do the evil get it all/While the good ones die young/Leaving daughters and sons?” He continues in the song’s second verse, “Do you care about the people you leave/Yeah, the people like you and me…Do you care…about the feeling we lost here at home?” This really comes across as a subtle commentary of sorts that reminds people to keep in mind who and what is important in life while we are here. It’s hardly the first time that such a seeming message has been delivered in any genre. That aside, it is a message that is always welcome and that will resonate with listeners. Keeping that in mind, it is just one more way in which the album’s lyrical content proves so important to its presentation. ‘Everybody Wants One’ I another way in which the album’s lyrical theme show their importance to the record.
The song comes across – at least to a point – as being about concerns surrounding consumerism. This is inferred as Perri sings in the song’s lead verse, “They got something gonna blow your mind/It doesn’t all look how it shines, yeah…Gonna make you feel good/Everybody wants one/Don’t let it get away/Everybody wants one/Tokyo to L.A./Everybody wants one/You don’t wanna hesitate.” He continues in the song’s second verse, “You know, it’s gonna put ‘em all to shame/Everybody’s gonna have one soon/You know what I’m looking at, you.” Again, this would seem to hint at a commentary about how companies sell things to people and how people fall for the companies’ marketing, making them believe that they just have to have the next big, cool item. It’s another familiar topic, and is just as relevant today as ever. It’s one more way in which the album’s lyrical content proves its value. When it is considered along with the other themes noted here and the rest of the album’s lyrical themes, the whole makes even more clear why the album’s lyrical content is as important as its musical arrangements. The lyrical and musical content featured in the record go a long way toward making it a strong new effort, and are just a portion of what makes the album worth hearing. Its production and mixing adds to its appeal, too.
The production and mixing that went into Sun Via’s presentation is important to note because of the general effect that it has on the record. Some of the songs, such as ‘White Noise,’ ‘Daughters & Sons,’ and ‘Fall’ have so much going on in such different ways. From the dynamic changes to the balance of the instruments to even the smaller aesthetic elements, such as electronics and ambient aspects, everything within the songs is balanced so well within each song. The result is a group of songs whose arrangements are distinct from one another, but ensure listeners’ engagement and entertainment because of that balance and overall composition. Much the same can be said of ‘Feeling Good’ and so many of the album’s other entries. The sharpness of the guitar in ‘Feeling Good’ and its slight echo effect makes for a great effect here. That the drums and bass are so well-balanced with the guitar and vocals adds to the song’s positive impact. The whole is such a strong offering and yet another example of the impact of the album’s production and mixing. Between the production and mixing here, that of the other noted songs and the rest of the album’s entries, the production and mixing in whole proves why it is just as important to this album as the album’s content. Keeping all of this in mind, the album in whole leaves no doubt why it is such a strong debut for Nick Perri and the Underground Thieves. The noted elements join to make the album one of the year’s more surprisingly interesting new rock and independent albums.
Sun Via is quite the intriguing first outing from Nick Perri and the Underground Thieves. That is due in part to its musical arrangements. From blues rock to some prog influences, to, even modern pop rock, and even some neo-folk and more, the record’s musical arrangements display a wide range of styles. This ensures a wide appeal in itself. The album’s lyrical themes are familiar and delivered in unique fashion from one to the next. The record’s production and mixing ensure its aesthetic appeal is complete, too. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the record. All things considered, they make Sun Via a truly unique presentation that is well worth hearing and that shows great promise for the group’s future. Sun Via is available now. More information on the album is available along with all of the group’s latest news at:
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