The growth curve that Fernando Perdomo has exhibited in the past decade is striking. His work under the band pseudonym Dreaming In Stereo was often split right down the middle, with songs that went right by you without leaving an impression to other songs that refused to be ignored. One suspected that if he could lock down all the aspects that made songs like “The Will To Love” so indelible, he had it in him to run the table.
Others recognized this, too. That’s why in recent years he’s worked with a who’s who of “lost legends,” artists with ironclad cult followers but only modest sales figures: Linda Perhacs, Emitt Rhodes, and Andy Pratt for examples. But he also has made his Midas Touch available to Cait Brennan and the group Gretchen’s Wheel. In other words, he knows his classic pop and is now being recognized for it.
This is evident with Perdomo’s latest solo work, The Golden Hour. For film buffs, you’ll recognize the term as a bit of a misnomer. The “golden hour” usually only lasts about fifteen minutes and occurs when the sun is nearing the horizon, producing the warmest, most-orange light. It is a favorite time for filmmakers to shoot because almost everything looks good and perfectly lit during the “golden hour.” The metaphor fits into Perdomo’s very loose song cycle as we hear song after song of being in love and falling out of love, of romances burning up and chilling out, and of the best and worst of times, all tinted by that golden hue.
Aside from a co-write with Jordan Zevon on “Look At The Moon” literally all the primary instruments and vocals are performed by Perdomo, from the stately piano on the opening track “Sunset (Intro)” to the shimmering guitars and harmonic vocal bursts on “Gold.” When it comes to the one-man-band process, the hardest thing to do is not to play all the instruments, but to play each of them with enough personality so that it sounds like a band comprised of many individuals, rather than a modular piece of construction assembled in a vacuum. You can very easily imagine a group of people gathered in a studio playing the songs from this album versus imagining a mad scientist obsessing over it one piece at a time.
I can’t say it is a perfect album. Although there is no song that calls itself out as a clunker, there are long stretches that linger in a languid soft-rock vibe. I would have liked a few more instances with “Sunlight Smile”‘s punchy energy to shake things up, particularly when we hit the midsection of the record.
But that’s a minor gripe about a recording that, overall, succeeds in its goal to make a modern album that feels in good company with those “lost legends” I spoke of earlier. Fernando Perdomo’s The Golden Hour deserves to see a better fate than to be rediscovered 5 or 10 years later. He remains one to keep an eye on as he further refines his craft, and this record provides ample evidence that he’s not done growing yet.
The Golden Hour is available at: https://fernandoperdomo.bandcamp.com/album/the-golden-hour