Dallas Perkins 2022
American six-string slinger sends his nimble fingers on trips across the fretboard in search of sonic candor.
One of the last representatives of the dying breed that guitar heroes have become since their ’80s heyday on labels like Shrapnel, Dallas Perkins might be well-respected by peers but, even after a few albums under his belt, the Tampa Bay-based instrumentalist remains almost totally unknown to wide audiences. Whether “Experimental Truth” can remedy this oversight is open for discussion and, judging by the record’s title, the artist’s prepared to accept any outcome, Dallas’ dexterous delivery dictating stubborn pursuing of personal sincerity rather than pandering to public tastes. Still, even shredding aficionados should find Perkins’ pieces occasionally too abstract to derive delight from his playing, as his method and manner come to the surface straight from the off.
The hefty bedrock of “Beck Street” may serve as a base for the technically impressive, albeit somewhat pointless, filigree whose strands reveal neither tangible rhythmic pattern solo-wise nor clear melody, so it’s not until the onslaught gets distilled to a tuneful tidal wave that the entire scope of Perkins’ abilities as a composer will be perceived: the progressively fragile, faux-orchestral and highly harmonic, wave out of which a perfect riff is formed. This figure must clear one’s aural palate for the solemn essay on tone in “Deus XM” where Dallas’ six strings rage unaccompanied by Fernando Jaramillo’s drums, as opposed to the rest of the tracks, and merge his licks into an amorphous mélange of virtuosic passages. The results of such an approach seem to sound informative for the artist’s fellow travelers, yet average listeners are more apt to locate their sonic footing in the brief, if imposing, “Monolith” and “Azul” – or a little earlier, in “Dynamic Equilibrium” whose muscular balladry feels anthemic before guitar lines gain momentum and soar.
However, while the fairground fervor of “Mexican Puppets” manifests itself in quite a quirky, but arresting, way, with menacing whisper, Eastern flavor and Perkins’ bass acrobatics spicing up the cut, the twang which is running through the veins of “Intermeshing Spectra” renders this start-stop sci-fi epic almost magnificent, although not as majestic “In Via Domum” that offers exquisitely resonating acoustic lace to send shivers down everybody’s spine. Of course, there’s the speedy “Jagwired” for a finale to turn the shivers into goosebumps, confirming success of the Floridian’s experiment in seeking sincerity.