Some albums reflect the times; others are a welcome escape. Pearl Charles’s new album ‘Magic Mirror’ is the latter – a disco ball swirling a little light through the darkness and gloom of the new year.
The breezy cool of her last album ‘Sleepless Dreamer’ stayed with me, and it was a real treat to see Pearl play live in as part of Stag and Dagger festival in Glasgow in 2019. This new album has been a while coming and is totally worth the wait.
We begin on the dance floor on Only For Tonight with an ABBA inspired sound, which might be an unexpected direction but boy does it sound fantastic. There is something so lovely about her singing about everyone being together and giving yourself freedom just for one night.
Underneath the sparkle there are hints of hidden sorrow. It’s easier to live this lie than to tell the truth, she sings sagely on What I Need exploring the end of a relationship. The pedal steel is soft and gorgeous, much like her vocals on the whole album.
Imposter and Don’t Feel Like Myself are about that search for self that everyone must go through, artists even more so. The cosmic Californian country sound really works wonderfully and her lyrics capture that sense of confusion we all have about our identities and futures.
So after those moments of disassociation she takes a look into the ‘Magic Mirror’, a song which came to her in a dream, and finds a new way forward.
Slipping Away and All The Way sound like the soundtrack to a seventies movie drenched in hazy sunshine. The standout song on the album is Take Your Time a welcome moment of calm and reassurance in a turbulent world. It’s going to be just fine, she sings sweetly while pedal steel reminds us that sadness isn’t always bad. The shadows in our mind are always with us but so is the light. Tilt your head to find the shine.
Sweet Sunshine Wine makes you long to fall in love in the summertime. You’re breathing in me new life and it’s about time, she sings and your heart just fills up. We finish the album deep in a new blissful happiness on As Long As You’re Mine. Whatever storms are raging outside are forgotten in the shelter of love. She’s found her way back to the garden.
Magic Mirror takes a look at the world and despite everything finds beauty, love, hope. California dreamers unite on the dance floor in your mind and Pearl Charles will banish those winter blues.