Release Date: Oct 18, 2011
Record label: Constellation
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
Sandro Perri has never shied away from expressing his admiration for Arthur Russell; among the highlights of the Toronto musician/producer's decade-plus-long career was a distended, 21-minute reinterpretation of Russell's already lengthy Dinosaur disco classic "Kiss Me Again". But as Perri's discography has pluralized and diversified in unexpected ways, Russell has become less of a direct musical influence than an inspirational model of following one's muse across dance, avant-garde, and roots-rock boundaries, and marking those stylistic shifts with different, highly evocative aliases. Since first establishing himself in the early 2000s as a producer of aquatic, cerebral techno under the Polmo Polpo moniker, Perri has variously indulged his interest in Nigerian juju and shantytown funk with one-album wonders Glissandro 70 and dubby disco as Dot Wiggin.
In an age where much so-called “independent” music seems hell-bent on covering the voice under dense layers, Sandro Perri’s is crystal clear. He creates plenty of mystery with an approach as direct and simple as Boz Scaggs, as fluid and mystical (in word and rhythm) as Prefab Sprout or Arthur Russell, and as concerned with harmony and bliss as all three. Although this is Perri’s third album under his own name, he has been recording since 1999, often with dark ambience and rhythmic subtlety as Polmo Polpo.
The second full album (not counting his transitional Plays Polmo Polpo release) by Sandro Perri under his own name finds the jack-of-all-trades producer/musician further exploring the more traditional singer/songwriter approach his work under his own name has tended toward, though always with a kind of unexpected lushness and direction that steer clear of simple revivalism. The whole of Impossible Spaces holds together as a strong listen, but in many ways it's the individual moments that stand out above all else. "Changes" flows as a kind of easy ramble with precise moments, bringing in orchestrated '70s funk, singer/songwriter bemusement with a bit of a sly nod to David Bowie's own song of the same name, and a hint of the lushness of the underrated U.