Album Review

Sunshine All The Way

Angela Perley & The Howlin' Moons - Homemade Vision

'...it's a motel, on the edge of town. Kinda faded. You could say it's seen better days but if it has, ain't no-one can remember 'em. The wind whips in off the bluff, paints the stonework in sand, washed out yellow. If you stare hard enough you can still pick out the terracotta paint around the window frames, red and white stripes on the awning. Like looking at a picture in an old newspaper. Every time the sign swings on its rusty hinges - 'Sunshine Motel: we're homemade 'n glad you stayed!' - small flurries of sand gather in pyramids at its base before drifting away 'cross the parking lot...'

'Can't say I've seen anyone stay there, not unless you count those too drunk from the Saturday Bash, slumped on what little shade the porch allows or lying face down by the bar, too hungover to go home. The Bash is why the Sunshine's still there. Every Saturday afternoon, regular as clockwork, Ms Perley clears the bar area so the band can set up. They 'bin playing there so long they can carve their name into the sweat on the walls; the Howlin' Moons... best damn rock 'n' roll band this side of the desert...'

Who hasn't, at some time in their lives, wanted to be in a rock 'n' roll band? All those who know what I mean, doff your cap in the general direction of Homemade Vision, because with their second full-length studio outing, Angela Perley and her band are living the dream. And how.

From the get (git'?) go, Homemade Vision tests the bolts on the chicken wire, the only jagged shapes flying through the air being those aimed towards the audience in the guise of beautifully dirty six-string riffs, load-bearing bass runs and tub-thumping percussion. Over it all, Perley sings sugar and salt into the wounds carved out by the music. In her PR, she looks like the third member of First Aid Kit, but she hits the microphone like a Go Go's-era Jane Wiedlin with some of Lemmy's attitude thrown in. Or, if you're so inclined, Patsy's little sister playing hooky with June Carter Cash. It's head spinning, but in a good way.

This is music that struts. Opener 'White Doves', a slow burn that erupts two-thirds of the way through and the swampy, reverb layered 'Electric Flame' set a template for the album, crisp, inventive melodies benefitting from an excellent production. Both songs are so damn catchy it's a wonder the World Health Organisation aren't vaccinating against them, and there are better nuggets in store. The album's core is a trio of absolute belters; 'Green Eyes' would kickstart any heart and 'Leaving' is a glorious miss-mash of Shelby Lynne, Kathleen Edwards, Gina Villalobos and Nicolette Larson. Perhaps best of all is 'I've Been Blue', a pulsing ballad that just can't keep the rock tied down, letting it out in a glorious chorus that you'll be singing for hours afterwards.

The fun continues with the pile-driving 'I Don't Want To Be Your Fool' and 70s FM radio hit-in-waiting 'Nothin' But Trouble', but Perley and crew can dial it down too, as they do on the Country-tinged 'Dandelion Kisses'. It's the high energy engine behind this record that thrills though, enticing you to hit repeat on a regular basis. You could do a lot worse than have Homemade Vision brighten up your Winter blues.