Review: Azwel – Fact And Fantasy

Using his Azwel identity, New York’s Jason Perillo has been producing albums roughly once every year since 2003. He crafts lovingly arranged songs and arrangements which makes you think you’ve discovered a wonderful obscurity from the late 1980’s/early 1990’s.

Azwel Album Cover

There may be a noticeably 1980’s indie pop sound to ‘Fact And Fantasy’ but it’s not in a clichéd sense. In fact the influences aren’t the most obvious. Listening to the romantic and wisftul opener, ‘Pleasant Dreams’ could be a Scritti Politti song and the jangly ‘Can’t Be Too Careful’ possesses the same innocent and hopeful charm as early Orange Juice. ‘Tell Me What You Want From Me’ and the title track exhume the early work of The Pet Shop Boys whilst ‘The Voice That Carried You’ and ‘I Always Get My Way’ are the most strident moments on the album; reminiscent of The Lightning Seeds on a budget. On the debit side, ‘Over And Out’ and ‘Summer Gets Me’ seem too light and watered down to last long in the memory but then Perillo can delight us with a lovely, pastoral flute-led instrumental named ‘Svetlana’, which a certain Paddy McAloon would be proud of.

Yet perhaps that’s where the only problem lies. Perillo writes melodies which are memorable, strangely familiar yet still original but the vocal performances, although perfectly servicable, lack the distinction to turn these predominantly excellent songs into something more commercially viable. If Ian Broudie could get his hands on these little gems, he could work wonders but until then Perillo’s unquestionable talents are likely to attract a relatively small yet devoted following.

Web Sites:
Azwel Official Site
Youtube Stream of Azwel’s ‘Fact And Fantasy’

Further Listening:
The Lightning Seeds, Skyline

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