After a long hiatus from music, Andrew Pearson has exploded back on the scene with the release of Beautiful Accident–seven hypnotic tracks of atmospheric soundscapes, vast musicality and underlying stories. The album is touted as “blues for the modern man” but with so many genres being tapped simultaneously, this one is tough to hang a yoke around. Think the urgency of progressive rock guitar, intermittent jazz instrumentation and catchy R&B grooves all piped through deliberate lyrical subject matter.
The album opens to “The Timekeeper’s Waltz” with its intermittent guitar riff work and agro tempo from the rhythm section and the constant bluesy notes from Ian McDonald’s alto sax. Pearson channels Widespread’s John Bell in a raspy vocal delivery of mortality contemplating lyrical matter. “Amsterdam” gives way from the upbeat rock to downbeat tension track. The dark backdrop amongst which the whispered rasp lyrics are cast upon make the track sound like a “Traffic meets a Tom Waits’ tune.” Again McDonald shines in this one with this flute bouncing around Pearson’s vocals. Blues riffs dictate “Criminal Cool” with its exploratory effort into the advent of gangster praise. Bent note squeaks and slide riffs prevail just below the foreground and again sounds like it could be track number five on a Widespread Panic album. The guitar shines throughout this track for sure. “In the Garden of the Long Pig” opens to sound effects before caving to more blues-laden guitar plucks that build in crescendo into the lead. While there isn’t as much instrumentation inundating this track the mellow groove carries the listener through from its inception to the gradual fade.
Again, the instrumentation throughout the seven tracks is at times hypnotic and at others big and vast. The myriad of styles represented from start to finish reveal a variety of influences and genre borrowing and truly makes it widely approachable. The caliber of musicianship once melded with the clever nature of the lyrical matter just makes this one very complete album. Very, very interested in seeing where exactly Pearson’s new project takes him. And while I wouldn’t call this “blues” per se; I am completely comfortable saying that this is an album for the “thinking man.”
by Chris West[Rating: 4/5]