By: Nick Hopton
At long last, the debut of SUN VIA from local legend Nick Perri and his band The Underground Thieves has arrived, bringing with it a newly energized sound that rock and roll so desperately needs. It’s an ode to the greats. The music that shaped and molded all that we hold holy. Perri and The Thieves capture the magic of the past, while also leading it to the future with a newly evolved sound that can only be described with that singular word.
We open with the lead single “Feeling Good”. A funky, fuzzed-up summer anthem. Best paired with a no worries attitude and a cruise on the highway with the top down. A signature Perri guitar solo rips through the speakers and pulls you back in with it, inviting you on the ride that the rest of the album will bring. “I Want You” hits you right out of the gates with a soaring chorus equipped with big harmonies that sends this one to the stars. A spaced-out desert love scene straight out of the late 1960s. It holds a powerful, building interlude that perfectly bridges the two halves of this story together, and creates a beautiful landscape of love. We follow this with “Fall”, which drowns you in a cosmic dream that draws so very heavily from one of Perri’s biggest influences (if not the biggest)….Pink Floyd. Searing guitar leads and beautiful synthesizers propel both the track and the listener through the universe into a place of bliss.
Imagine yourself sitting in the corner of a dive bar…contemplating life and drinking it away at the same time. Slipping in and out of reality. This is the feeling of “Excess”, Tales of love lost, regret…Perri pleads “Can you help me?” as we try to navigate life without the first one that comes to our minds. “You”, though being the shortest song on the album…might just be it’s most beautiful. A western, heavenly escapade that leads you into the deepest parts of your mind to realize this all is only about one thing. Love.
Circling the wagons, we drop into “Everybody Wants One”. A stomping, sprawling epic. A flashback to the dirty blues that built rock and roll. The one you put on your best “filthy face” to and just bang your head. A future live, big-time singalong…one that will surely prompt crowd call and response for years to come. “Daughters & Sons” continues that desert drive feel, though brings us back down to Earth for one of the few times on the album. Perri sings about the fragility of life, the need to hold onto the now to appreciate what life has in store for us. The unknown, eternal abyss of existence.
This brings us to “Let You Know”. If there is one song that encompasses the entire album into a single package, this is it. A guitar-driven escapade. A mostly simplistic endeavor for the majority of the track…the drums explode as we exit with a sound like they were recorded in a back alley, perfect for this track. A rattlesnake of a tune…if you need to show your friends one song to get them into this band…this is it.
As we near the end of our journey, “5.0.1” leads us to a time when you didn’t need lyrics to get kicked in the soul. It’s an ode to the instrumentals. A massive wall of sound. Recorded live at the Ardmore Music Hall from a gig in December of 2018…it’s so perfectly performed that it plays itself off as a studio track…until you hear the crowd cheers at the end. A testament to the talent that is in The Underground Thieves. The final chapter, “White Noise”, is an absolutely perfect closing song. Perri and The Thieves pull out all the stops here, even throwing in a saxophone solo out of absolutely nowhere, and book-ending the journey we’ve been sent on. Bringing us back home…wanting more. And that’s exactly how you want to end an album. Leaving the listener waiting for the next adventure.
One can only hope the next chapter of The Underground Thieves comes sooner rather than later. This is a sound that only comes around once in a blue moon.
It’s special. It’s unique.
It’s rock and roll.