Album Review: Pearl Charles – Sleepless Dreamer

It’s been a long cold lonely winter but here comes the sun in the form of the debut album by Los Angeles native Pearl Charles. Mixing Laurel Canyon folk vibes with cosmic country rock Sleepless Dreamer is a real shimmering beauty which will return the smile to your face.

All The Boys opens the album with a swirl of light rock guitars, reminiscent of Sheryl Crow or Haim if they smoked more weed and loosened up a bit. Despite the cheery music this is a ‘summer bummer’ about how frustrated she is with useless men all acting the same way. In the mirror universe of my dreams this radio friendly song is a sure fire chart hit.

Beginners Luck similarly explores the problems of searching for a long lasting love. She’s going to take her time before she tries to find another relationship, as she’s in no rush to be owned by anyone. The music feels as good as that first sip of cool ice tea on a boiling hot day.

The title track, Sleepless Dreamer starts out quite Fleetwood Mac in style, and there’s references to that band in the sound of the whole album. Here the lyrics are about escaping, running away from the sunshine to somewhere where she can finally find what she’s been looking for.

The song Long Hair is an ode to those boys who avoid the barber shop, all sixties Haight Ashbury vibes and aided by hazy pedal steel. Only in America sounds a little like a more alternative Dixie Chicks – with sweet vocals and thoughtful lyrics about how we need to wake up from the ‘false reality’ of the world. Sure it sounds like a hippie utopia but what can ever be wrong with wanting to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony?

Night Tides adds seventies disco and soul to the mix, so when she says ‘I’m living in the past’ she really means it. Chasing the ghosts of music past works wonders for her. Blue Eyed Angel is a country inspired ballad with angelic vocals, although it sounds more Hotel California than anything from Nashville.

If it was 2004 then Pearl Charles would definitely be booked to play on The O.C., such is her breezy Californian cool. It’s hard to say where this kind of artist fits in the current scene but that just makes her an even more welcome addition. Bask in the golden glow of Sleepless Dreamer and you won’t fail to feel the good vibrations.


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