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Pearl Charles - Magic Mirror

  by Nick Dent-Robinson

published: 8 / 3 / 2021

Pearl Charles - Magic Mirror
Label: Karine Records
Format: CD


Eclectic second album from rising Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Pearl Charles

A rising star to watch is Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Pearl Charles, whose second album, ‘Magic Mirror’ is a feelgood meander through various classic American styles from country-soul to 1960s pop and 1970s rock. It's a record to help banish the Covid blues! Charles, 29, isn't a complete newcomer, though. The former classical music student first cut her teeth with LA country duo The Driftwood Singers before drumming with garage-rock band The Blank Tapes. She went solo in 2012 and has since toured extensively in the USA with Father John Misty and Best Coast, anchoring her music firmly in American indie rock. ‘Magic Mirror’ is more mainstream and shifts the dial away from indie underground towards smoother and more commercial West Coast sounds. Opening track ‘Only for Tonight’ is a little misleading as, like Arcade Fire's ‘Everything Now’. it is an homage to Abba and might suggest an album of glittery disco sounds. But what follows is far softer, more introspective and interesting. For in ‘Magic Mirror’ Charles charts her own progress through adolescence and on to adulthood, questioning her own artistic credentials in ‘Imposter’ and tackling the fear and challenge of moving on from an old failed relationship in ‘What I Need’. The title track, an Elton John-influenced piano ballad, finds Charles wondering if she's becoming too self-absorbed. - Though as a typical Californian singer-songwriter, a degree of soul-searching comes with the job description! One of the most attractive tracks on ‘Magic Mirror’ is ‘Sweet Sunshine Wine’ which is spiced with harpsichord and honky-tonk piano and tells of a carefree summer romance. The album's last track, however, brings things back down to earth. ‘As Long As You're Mine’ is a ballad inspired by Bonnie Raitt and contains the words, “We're closer to the edge than we've ever been” and “Summer fun feels a long way away right now - But we can still dream” - which is a reflective rather than a fairytale ending.

Track Listing:-
1 Only for Tonight
2 What I Need
3 Imposter
4 Don't Feel Like Myself
5 Magic Mirror
6 Slipping Away
7 All the Way
8 Take Your Time
9 Sweet Sunshine Wine
10 As Long As You're Mine

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