Get your aural tastebuds ready, because the Splashing Pearls are going to rearrange everything you ever thought you loved about music. This amalgamation of ukulele, steel drums and upright bass is an unlikely combo for sure, but for some reason, it works. Dubbed “indie island folk rock” by its members, the Splashing Pearls have been called “darlings of the local music scene” in their native Delaware, and it’s not hard to see why. Now prepping their fifth disc for release on April 28th, the band’s storytelling, musicianship, and clever arrangements are in good form on Tabloid Tales.
Beginning with the bouncy, carnival-esque “Richman’s Arcade,” Tabloid Tales integrates exactly what it promises: salacious headlines and fantastical characters. Follower “Voodoo Love” is sort of what Screamin’ Lord Sutch would sound like had he had a tropical, vaudevillian streak; the track is one of the standouts on the disc for sure. Meanwhile, the dreamy “Soldier Boy Blues,” the grooving “Perfect Storm,” and the understated closer “Cactus Flower” round out a solid set. Nary a track is wasted; instead, they all showcase the surprising versatility of this trio.
If this is the first time you’re hearing about this surprising combo, consider yourself lucky. Tabloid Tales is poised to be their strongest effort yet, according to bassist Cooke Harvey. The album is “the culmination of five years’ work together – the songs are strong and the playing is the best.” Take it from me (and Harvey): pick up this album and you’ll wonder why all bands don’t go troppo.