There are giant dandelions in the background of a family campground

Pearla: Quilting & Other Activities Album Review

By Madisen Gummer
Music Journalist

One of the many great things about being in the music department of a college radio station is the amount of new music we get to discover on a weekly basis. My favorite artist that I’ve come across yet is Pearla. This week I stumbled across her spectacular EP, Quilting & Other Activities, and it’s all I’ve been able to listen to. This short collection of folk-influenced songs sounds like if you were to go back to your childhood and tell your younger self that magic is real.

“Quilting”

Opening with a dainty piano line that subtly distortions itself before the acoustic guitar comes in, this song begins with tones reminiscent of a jewelry music box or tinkerbell, reflecting themes of child-like hope. Then strings come in, willing you into a lofty feeling like a dream sequence. Pearla has raw vocals with a massive range. Towards the bridge of the song, she sings “I’m reaching out with both hands and nothing’s there” and the emotion becomes tangible. You can feel her frustration within her voice.

“Forgive Yourself

Beginning with wind chimes, guitar and Pearla’s delicate voice, this song makes you feel better about yourself. It is an honest self-acceptance anthem, walking you through periods of anti-socialness and wanting to be alone when she sings “it’s alright to stay inside if you think that will make you feel better.” She asks lots of questions, sparking self reflection, but in a sweet and assuring way.

“Daydream

This song consists of soothing harp, forest noises, and simple yet sunshiney vocals that transcend its storytelling. The word “daydream” signals new sounds to carry you into an actual daydream. During the last third of the song, Pearla shows off the incredible range and quality of her voice, sounding something like sipping on a cold lemonade during the summertime.

“Pear Shaped World”

The combination of wind instruments with nuanced beats creates a song that is simple, but simultaneously intricate, reflecting life itself. It is filled with folk influences and poignant honest vocals. The ending is a work of art itself, as the music slowly fades out and bird noises get stronger and stronger, pulling you back to the natural world.

“Somewhere – Alt. Version

This song brings to mind the dandelion seeds blowing in the wind on the album’s cover. It is pure and clean, almost giving off the sense of water flowing back and forth onto a beach. It is the lullaby of the record, simple and smoothe.

“Washing Machine

The final track on brings to it a rawness not seen on the rest of the EP. The acoustic guitar mixed with the distanced/live sound creates an echoey and atmospheric tone. Again, Pearla’s controlled yet explosive voice leaves you with chills. This song leaves you just on the edge of being satisfied but also wanting more, looking forward to her next studio releases.

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