Jeremy Styles of Pearl and The Beard at Pianos (06/23/09)
Photo: D. Caplan
Download: “Sweetness” – Pearl and The Beard (mp3)
Brooklyn based chamber pop trio Pearl and The Beard have just released their excellent second full length LP, entitled Killing The Darlings on Family Records. In celebration of their new record’s release and in conjunction with EscapeMaker.com, the band is playing two gigs today (Apr 30), one at 4PM at One Hanson Place as part of a Food and Travel Expo, and one tonight at Park Slope’s venerable Rock Shop with Kingsley Flood and Ugly Purple Sweater. If you’re going to the travel expo today, here’s a little of what you can expect to find:
Local food samples, wine tasting, eco travel workshops, food demonstrations, live music, face painting and other fun kids activities throughout the day!
(What follows is kind of a review of Killing The Darlings, but way less polished than I wanted it to be. -ed.)
Killing The Darlings, Pearl and The Beard’s follow up to 2009’s God Bless Your Weary Soul Amanda Richardson, shows the band expanding their horizons, but at the same time sticking true to their roots. The album was produced by famously mustachioed ex-Hold Steady keyboardist Franz Nicolay, and features the core musical trio of Jeremy Styles, Jocelyn Mackenzie, and Emily Hope Price. Nicolay, who appeared as a guest musician on their last record, also pulls some double duty on the new one. The first single from KTD (which you can download above) is called “Sweetness” and it features Jeremy Styles on lead vocals. It’s an up tempo number and if you close your eyes and only listen to the call outs in the chorus, it might remind you a little of a Katy Perry song, but the rest is all classic Pearl and the Beard. While less fast paced than “Sweetness”, “Prodigal Daughter” is the track from this album that immediately jumped out at me on first listen, and after repeated spins, I’d have to say it’s still my favorite. The harmonies and the melody remind me a lot of “Voice In My Throat”, one of the standout songs off of their last album, and the guitar parts and the strings just hit my musical sweet spot. “Douglas Douglass” is a mostly a capella and percussion ditty that showcases the band’s vocal harmonies and lyrical playfulness. It’s an attention getting song that stands apart from the rest of the album, but it totally won me over, (it’s also a showstopper when played live). Also in strong contention for top track honors on this album is the enchanting “Swimming”. With its sweet vocals and magical imagery, it takes me back to those innocent summers spent at the lake as a kid that I may or may not have actually had; when the strings come in at the end, i’m melting. The lead off track “Reverend” picks up a little where “Donny and Johnny” left off, it’s a fine song, but just a little too dark to make it one of my favorites. “Jasper Christmas” is another song that could potentially be a single, it’s got some catchy pop guitar in it and a hooky refrain, but it meanders a little right before chorus making it just a little unconventional. There are ten tracks in all on this album, and if I were a better man, I would probably say something about each one, but why don’t you just buy it and judge for yourself, I think you’ll be glad you did.
Full album track listing and cover art for Killing The Darlings after the jump.
Pearl and The Beard – Killing The Darlings
3. Prodigal Daughter
4. The Lament Of Coronado Brown
5. Douglas Douglass
6. Jasper Christmas
7. Hot Volcano
10. Black Hole Of Calcutta