Excitement is building as Dromahair based singer/songwriter Perry Blake prepares to release Songs of Praise - his first solo album in 13 years.
The stunning record is set to be released on UK label Moochin’ About / PIAS on June 28.
The LP features 11 new compositions and a cover of So Many Things - a track Perry wrote for French icon Françoise Hardy’s gold-selling Tant de Belles Choses.
In a career spanning two decades, Perry Blake has been compared to Scott Walker, Leonard Cohen, John Grant and David Bowie - but his music is hard to categorise.
Songs of Praise has traces of his previous heady work - not dissimilar to his French Top 40 debut Perry Blake. But this record is a major leap into 2019 and finds Perry at the height of his powers.
Songs of Praise was recorded in 2018/19 and mastered by Kevin Metcalfe whose work includes David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs, The Cure's Disintegration, Damon Albarn’s Everyday Robots, as well as albums by The Who, Siouxsie and the Banshees and Queen.
On the eve of his first album in 13 years Perry Blake said: “It feels fantastic to be back with a new album. I’m really proud of Songs of Praise. Musically, I feel it’s my best work to date.
“Songs of Praise offers snippets of stories. It’s overheard conversations that are more interesting than confessional-type lyrics.”
Jason Lazell, head of Moochin’ About Records, said: “Perry Blake is one of Europe’s great unsung musical heroes. Songs of Praise is a breathtaking record of high drama that we are absolutely thrilled to present and release.
“Songs of Praise takes the listener to a higher plane - a great beyond. This is Perry’s greatest work to date.”
Track Charlie Chaplin is commentary on the folly of the digital age we live in. Perry says: “Everyone has a mobile phone, satellites follow us, trawling our every move. The song is about a return to a nostalgic gentler time.”
The urgency of the new record is evident from the first bar yet it draws the listener in slowly. Blake’s music seems more relevant today than ever before in an image obsessed world where Warhol’s 15 minutes of fame treadmill is part of life…
There is an irony in a devout atheist calling his album Songs of Praise. There has always been an understated humour in Blake’s lyrics. Who, or what is he praising?
In parts, Songs of Praise offers a return to a simpler - more joyful time.
Lead track Diamonds in the Sun finds two children on a summer’s day searching for quartz stones on a rocky beach. They find their jewels and rush to tell their mothers of their good fortune.
Boxes deals with a couple divorcing, packing and unpacking their lives: “Taking the days out of boxes, the treasures we locked away.”
Miracle tells the story of someone on the edge of despair waiting to be rescued by a saviour.
The cover of the album has been designed by Helen Abbas. Abbas is a renowned Syrian artist and designer. Her work is characterised by contemporary Arabic influences and rich, layered colours. Helen’s art fits perfectly with the mood and tone of Songs of Praise.
Citing influences as various as European cabaret, west coast funk, and 60’s & 70’s film scores, Blake compiled a collection of songs that uplifted with their melodic hooks as much as they saddened with glimpses into damaged lives of his characters.
When Perry Blake first appeared on the scene in the late 90's his first two singles The Hunchback of San Francisco and Genevieve were chosen as singles of the week on Jo Wiley's BBC Radio 1 show.
The eponymous debut album that followed went top 30 in France upon release and he went on to release four critically acclaimed studio albums, gaining him an almost fanatical fan base along the way.
In his 21 year career Blake has developed a large cult following in Europe and has collaborated with, and written for French artists such as Françoise Hardy and Emilie Simon. He has also toured with former label mate Carla Bruni.
Perry Blake has written extensively for film and TV in Europe, released a live album
recorded at Cirque Royale in Brussels with full orchestra, had a book of his lyrics printed in Portuguese and also wrote the children's book Gatos em Lissadell.
Perry signed to Moochin’ About in 2018. Songs of Praise is his first new album in 13 years.
Perry Blake will play live in the UK and Europe in autumn 2019.