All it takes is 3 chords and a dream!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Gena Perala - This Ain't Pretty

Gena Perala - This Ain't Pretty
2008, Gena Perala

British Columbia might just be one of the most vibrant scenes in all of rock and roll. I've had the distinct pleasure of hearing several bands from BC in the past few months and I have been extraordinarily impressed. It's come to a point where I have high expectations whenever I see a return address on a submission from Western Canada. Gena Perala bears up these expectations with room to spare. This Ain't Pretty is an impressive project combining thoughtful, sometimes biting lyrics, top notch folk-rock songwriting and a distinctive, memorable voice (figuratively and literally).

Lyrically I would put Gena Perala up with Ani DiFranco for frank honesty, disturbing perspective and aesthetic pursuit. Musically the songs are functional. Perala is more in the singer-songwriter tradition, where the songs are more vehicles for the stories than art forms in and of themselves. That being said, she is an accomplished songwriter with a keen ear for melody and beauty.

Baby Girl is currently my favorite song on the album, although I suspect this is one of those seminal recordings where I will be listening to it for a long time and the favorites will change over time. Bride To Be is another gem. It opens almost like a minor-key sea shanty and turns darker as optimism fades by the first chorus. American Way is a biting look at the influence of American Pop Culture ("Tell me we're more than opposable thumbs"). I would also highly recommend Knew I Was In Trouble and Restless By Nature.

I believe that Gena Perala is the sort of distinctive voice that only comes around every 10 years or so. She bears the linguistic gravitas of a Bruce Cockburn or a Canadian Springsteen. She bears hearing, and I strongly recommend This Ain't Pretty to my readers.

Rating: 4.5 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Gena Perala at, where you can purchase a copy of This Ain't Pretty.

No comments: