Peralta: Time, Purpose & Gold (FOLC Records)
LP, CD, DL
Although based across various cities in northern Spain, on their new record, Time, Purpose & Gold, Peralta have decided to spread their wings further and fly west to mine classic southern- American rock, creating a glorious soundtrack for hazy summer evenings. They kick off, after the chirping birds that set us lying back in the long grass by a dusty road, with The Sound That I Hear. Right from the off they drench us in glorious harmonies and dreamy rhythms that they maintain throughout the album, occasionally dropping into spacious psych breaks.
Singing in English as opposed to their native Spanish, their songs talk of lost loves, a nostalgia for times past, and the constant reassessment of where we are and what could have been – the whole idea of searching for that time and place where the grass is or was greener. Side one closer, Behind The Fence, perfectly encapsulates these dreams, singing “I am left with nothing but the notion that we will come around again with the strongest feelings of devotion for anything we’ve left behind the fence, to find out after a while it feels the same. Still, most of us would rather jump the fence”. The tune is also probably the most classic country they dish up on the record. With a flying twanging riff taking the forefront, it picks up the pace just in time to close the first side. However, it’s a pace that they decide not to keep up as the second side drops back to that southern 70s Americana rolling dreamscapes.
A truly democratic band, Peralta split writing duties (and credits) across three of their members (guitarists Angel Kaplan and Marcos Montoto, and drummer Pablo González), but all are most certainly on the same page as the tunes knit together perfectly to create a unified sound that is individual to them alone on the Spanish circuit. They bottle up that Americana-tinged country pop perfectly. Think Radio City-era Big Star covering The Band and you’re not far off the mark, a fact that comes across even more when they play live as Gonlález takes on a lion’s share of the lead vocal duties. Coupling up with Kaplan, they produce some astounding melodies and harmonies very much akin to the likes of The Jayhawks. It seems, however, that Montoto is the one responsible for the real country influence, penning both Behind The Fence and redneck country dive bar growler Searchlights which, if it weren’t for the sweet vocal melodies, could easily be heard coming from Tito & Tarantula down at The Titty Twister. The crashing González-penned People Inside Of Me sounds closest to the Asturian-sound that came out of northern Spain in the early 90s, but would also fit perfectly on Neil Young’s Freedom and, as the penultimate song, is a jolt from the dream before the band close with perhaps the most plaintive, and almost twee, song of the record, Eastern Wind (also penned by González).
Peralta are a band that are truly greater than the sum of their parts and have crafted an exceptional album from start to finish. It’s perfectly executed and harnessed, wistful and yearning yet throughout there’s always a glimmer of hope, as the closing lines of the album proclaim, “Cold and bitter it’s gonna be. A clearer and stronger land will shine when the storm has cleared.” Amen to that!
All words by Nathan Whittle, find his Louder Than War archive here.