Disco influences infuses Pearl Charles’ country with a fantastical flare on Magic Mirror. “Only for Tonight” sets the stage for an adventurous romp through Charles’ insecurities and inevitable moments of triumph with hints of ABBA’s “Dancing Queen” in instrumentation and attitude. “What I Need” follows with Charles declaring “it’s easier to live this lie than to tell the truth, baby I don’t want to lose you” over a bevy of smooth electric piano and a mournful pedal steel. “Imposter” digs into country blues while “Don’t Feel Like Myself” and the title track build on the tradition of piano ballads. Charles sings, “Magic mirror tell me true,…, sick and tired of being lost and misconstrued, my eyes are red, my heart is blue.” “Slipping Away” rolls with the backbeat of the open road. “Horizons in my mind are changing with perspective,” Charles’ sings in acknowledgement of shifts in meaning that come with the passage of time. She continues, “Things that we used to say don’t make sense anymore.”
Magic Mirror hits its stride with “All the Way” as a plethora of influences shine through while simultaneously blending into a seamless canvas of sonic candy reminiscent of Dougie Poole’s country disco delights mixed with hints of doo-wap and yacht rock. “I’ll be standing with you when the tough get going, I don’t want to run away,” Charles declares as the tension builds to a sudden finish. “I hear your star is on the rise, don’t you let it pass you by,” advises Charles as “Take Your Time” opens into a piano driven country cruiser. Over an easy rolling country soul groove that shifts through a variety of movements within a single song, “Sweet Sunshine Wine” finds Charles and crew enjoying the type of fleeting carefree moments of new love. “There’s just something about new love in the summer time,” she sings. Charles continues to lean into her soul influences on album closer “As Long As You’re Mine.” “It doesn’t matter that there’s rockets flying…that the water rising…that there’s fires burning…if the world stops turning…as long as you’re mine,” Charles confirms her commitment to her partner in a way many of us long to hear.
Pearl Charles finds an enviable balance between disco, soul, and country on Magic Mirror. Pearl shares that “sonically, The Pointer Sisters covering Conway Twitty was definitely a major reference for me.” Pearl Charles’ Magic Mirror is available via Kanine Records January 15, 2021. Pick up a copy as soon as you can, ease into a Pearl’s dance party world, and let her melodies take you away from the mundane cruelties of the day. https://pearlcharlesmusic.bandcamp.com/album/magic-mirror