If Azwel had existed thirty years ago one could imagine him sharing a bill with Microdisney; crafting literate indie pop songs which might occasionally flirt with the lower reaches of the top 75. New York’s Jason Perillo is the talent behind the Azwel title and ‘From Now On’ proves that his prolific work rate (roughly an album a year) is matched in the quality stakes too.
Opener ‘Alone In The Park’ sticks to a similar indie pop template as previous album ‘Fact And Fantasy’ but there is an eerie edge to the song; the arrangement is haunting and a sense of moodiness prevails, not least when Perillo bemoans “I can’t stop this ringing in my ears”. Piano and strings provide a beautifully sad backdrop for the elegantly yearning ‘Convalescence’ as well as the Simon and Garfunkel-esque closer ‘In A Desperate Way’. ‘The Writing On The Wall’ offers a breezier form melancholy though. It’s an approach which Perillo follows regularly and rightly so on this form and – in a fairer world – the superb ‘Don’t Take It For Granted’ cries out to be a hit, thanks to its verses offset by lilting Orange Juice-style guitar which then burst into a wonderfully vibrant chorus.
Admittedly some of the later songs can be less substantial and at these times Azwel is a little too unassuming for his own good. The strength of ‘From Now On’ is that it impresses the darker it gets. Clearly, Perillo is establishing himself as a songwriter on his own merits and he is an imaginative arranger too; embellishing his reliably fine melodies with a plethora of instruments.
The Lightning Seeds, Skyline, Microdisney