“From Now On”
Azwel / 2014
I came into this review a little blind on what to expect of Azwel. I was pleasantly pleased with getting to know this artist musically. Azwel is a project that involves songwriter Jason Perrillo from New York. For more than a decade, he has been releasing albums. There is an impressive catalog available online. My initial thought when hearing “From Now On” on a dry run is that it reminded me of the Beatles and Nick Drake. The voice kept brining me back to a combination of John Lennon and Ben Folds. In reflection, I realized that this may have been due to my own limitations in the scope of my tastes. By doing some additional research, Azwel has a strong influence in 90’s Brit Pop. It is a good combination of artists like Pulp, Happy Monday, Inspirations Carpets, and Dodgy. Even for a novice of the genre, it is very engaging.
Musically, “From Now On” has a balanced and full sound. It took listening to the album with headphones to really hear all the subtle nuances. I’ve always appreciated those kind of nuances, they are sometimes lost on the general listener. However, it is at times the piece that holds the composition together. The tones and instrumentation are nothing short of beautiful. The songs are structured well with creative and powerful atmospheres. The strings in “Convalescence” are haunting when added with the easiness of the vocals. The guitar and keyboard tones vary between each song, helping to develop a clear distinction of each piece. I am a fan of the way the horns are added in an imaginative and original way. Vocally, Jason has a distinct warm sound. His strong baritone is smooth and refined, with dynamic qualities that pull the listener into the lyrics. The whole album is layered in harmonies that give an inventive and varied complement to the lead vocals and instrumentation.
I often judge an album by how often I am singing it when I am not listening. “From Now On” has me hooked. It is hard for me to pick a favorite off the album, however I hum “The Writing On The Wall” pretty often. Is that a Hammond? Nice. Remember, I was a complete novice to the genre. If you already like Brit Pop, you will appreciate Azwel. Vocally alone it separates itself from the rest of the genre. If you are looking for a beautiful album that is both soothing and catchy, this is the record for you. I look forward to more releases from Jason Perrillo. If you are interested in checking out more from Azwel or an additional project called Azwel + Julian check out: http://www.azwel.com/home. You won’t be disappointed.