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Andrea Perry | Saturday Morning Sweet Shoppe (Trust Issue)
Where do these things keep coming from? Just when you're feeling either overwhelmed by the insurmountable quantity of music demanding your attention or as often underwhelmed by the frequently indifferent quality on offer, along comes something totally unexpected which rekindles your dwindling enthusiasm. 'Saturday Morning Sweet Shoppe' by Andrea Perry is just such an album. Initially both self-promoted and self-released the album has recently been justifiably picked up by new label Trust Issue Records. Perry plays virtually everything on the album herself, bar the drums. Having also written, produced and arranged the material she couldn't possibly have had the energy to sit and hit things in rhythm as well! Born in Ohio just weeks after the release of Sgt. Pepper and subsequently raised in Texas by her classical pianist parents she has obviously inherited a keen ear for music albeit choosing to express her craft in a much less traditional manner than might have been expected. Distinguished by busy, eccentric arrangements that really engage the listener, Perry's whimsical often multi-tracked voice is at times reminiscent of Victoria Williams, but is equally unique at others. Drawing on a multitude of influences, many of which she acknowledges, such as the Beatles, XTC, Robyn Hitchcock and Sesame Street it's also possible to detect traces of Jellyfish, the Zombies and even the highlife rhythms of the Bhundu Boys on When I'm With You. Disparate, undoubtedly, but delightful throughout. There is so much going on here that even after several listens the arrangements continue to reveal ever more twists and turns. Amongst many highlights are the deceptively titled, piano-led opener Simple, the bubbling funky pop of Slide Out with its charmingly brief guitar solo and the glistening harpsichord that underpins the crystalline If I Lose You. Andrea Perry is evidently a very talented musician, playing guitar, bass and keyboards with equal aplomb as well as displaying great technical creativity in the studio. Sadly she is also extremely shy and won't play live, but consolation is at hand with the news that she is already working on a follow-up. Appealingly packaged in manga-influenced sleeve art, the innovative baroque, psychedelic pop wares on offer in 'Saturday Morning Sweet Shoppe' should prove to be a very difficult proposition to resist, even for the most discerning of palates.

Geraint Jones
CWAS #9 - Winter 2002