ReviewsNick Perri & The Underground Thieves’ Offer Audiences A...

Nick Perri & The Underground Thieves’ Offer Audiences A Positive Presentation In Its Sophomore LP


This coming Friday, independent rock act Nick Perri & The Underground Thieves will independently release its latest album, Terra Firma.  The double-disc record boasts a total of 14 songs spread across two discs.  Coming less than three years after the release of the band’s debut album, Sun Via, the album more than earns its place among this year’s new independent (and even rock) albums.  As was the case with Sun Via, the success of Terra Firma comes in part through its featured musical arrangements.  They will be discussed shortly.  The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s musical content make for their own appeal and will be discussed a little later.  The record’s production puts the finishing touch to its presentation and will be addressed later, too.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation.  All things considered they make the album one more welcome addition to this year’s field of new independent and rock albums.

Terra Firma the sophomore album from Nick Perri & The Underground Thieves is a presentation that the group’s established audiences will find just as appealing as rock fans in general.  That is due in no small part to its featured musical arrangements.  From beginning to end, the arrangements present audiences with a wide range of sounds and styles.  At the same time, listeners will note that not only are there various distinct styles, but the band seemingly intentionally set the record’s sequencing to separate them out, perhaps for the purpose of general effect.  The first disc features arrangements that largely show roots rock and some psychedelic influences.  In many cases the arrangements evolve (almost organically) into virtual jam sessions, with the group opting to put emphasis more on the songs’ musical side than lyrical.  That makes for so much engagement and enjoyment.  The only exception to the rule in the record’s lead sic is the album’s opener, ‘Waiting For You.’  The song’s arrangement, in this case, leans more in the direction of an 80s new wave composition, interestingly enough.  It certainly makes for an interesting juxtaposition to the other arrangements, but in a way that is certain to keep listeners engaged.

The arrangements featured throughout the album’s second disc are even more diverse from one to the next.  Right from the disc’s outset, ‘Morning Light,’ listeners get something that is more modern in its sound and style.  The pairing of the keyboards and guitars make for a presentation that is unique to say the least and well worth hearing, as a result.  From there, Perri and company keep changing things up just enough from one song to the next.  Case in point is ‘I Want To Be Free,’ the disc’s second song.  Listeners can make comparison here to some of the poppier songs from the likes of Tom Petty and the Eagles.  The record takes a much softer turn in the very next song, ‘Sunset to Sunset.’  The simple approach of using Perri’s vocals alongside the subtle string arrangement, the piano and guitar gives the song so much gentle heart and body.  Listeners could go so far here as to argue the arrangement in this case is sort of a modern folk ballad.  It is a complete departure from everything else featured up to that point in the album.  The classic rock influence returns immediately after that in ‘Come To Me,’ changing things up yet again, and in turn keeping the record’s presentation just as engaging and entertaining.  The group opts for a more stoner/garage rock approach to the very next track, ‘Space Between.’  The use of the keyboards in this song really gives it a unique sound and approach that is difficult to compare to works from any other band.  The classic rock leanings continue in the record’s last pair of songs, with each composition boasting its own unique identity that is sure to hold listeners’ ears just as much as the rest of the album’s entries.  Simply put, Perri and his fellow musicians keep things quite interesting throughout the course of the band’s new album, at least on the musical side.  From one song to the next, the arrangements that make up that half of the album give listeners reason enough to hear the album.

The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s musical content, which gets more focus on the record’s second disc, make for their own interest.  That is not to say the lyrical content is totally absent in disc one.  ‘Kiss The World Goodbye,’ is one of the rare tracks in the album’s lead disc with much the way of lyrical content.  Perri’s declaration that “I always thought that we would be together/I always thought that we would last forever” in the song’s chorus hints at the song perhaps being another piece centering on a broken relationship.  However, his declaration in the lead verse that “All existence is just passing by” and the mention of trying to outrun time in the song’s second verse takes the song more in an existential direction.  It is a thoughtful presentation that is certain to engage audiences and get listeners thinking.

‘Modern Man,’ which comes earlier in the lead disc, comes across as a commentary of sorts about the role of technology, what with the mention of ones and zeros being what the “modern man” in question reads.  The additional note of the man being new and “not secondhand” adds even more to that seeming theme.  Overall, this song is another example of Perri’s skill as a lyricist.  He definitely shows and ability to get listeners thinking.

‘I Want To Be Free,’ which comes early in the album’s second disc, is another example of the importance of the album’s lyrical content.  In the case of this song, it would seem that it does in fact center on a relationship.  That is evidenced right from the song’s outset as Perri sings in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “I always feel a little/Beaten up/When I step inside your door/Some may say it’s a/A waste of time/A never-ending war/Every time I come around/There’s no love here to be found/I wanna be free.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “Please excuse me If I’m running late/I check out sometimes/Change is hard/And I’m doing my best/It was me against my mind/Every time I come around/There’s no love here to be found/I wanna be free.”  Again, this points to someone who is at that integral point in a relationship; that point when change is needed after making a realization about the noted apparent relationship.  Again, this is just this critic’s interpretation and hopefully is somewhere in the proverbial ballpark.  If that is the case, then the way in which the topic is addressed here certainly makes for its own interest.  What’s more, it further shows the role of the album’s content within the bigger picture of the album.  When the theme here is considered alongside the other themes examined and with the rest of the album’s lyrical content, the whole leaves no doubt as to the importance of the album’s lyrical content.  When the overall lyrical content featured in the album is considered along with the record’s overall musical content the whole of that content makes the album all the more worth hearing.

As much as the content featured in this album does to make the record worth hearing, it is just part of the presentation’s positive.  The record’s production brings everything full circle and completes the album’s presentation.  Perri handled the record’s production, as is noted on each of the discs.  He is to be applauded for his work in balancing all of the performances in each song.  The sound levels were expertly balanced within each work, resulting in the best possible emotional impact and general effect.  Whether in the softer moments or the livelier moments, the production ensures each song is as immersive as possible in the best way possible.  Each work offers audiences so much entertainment as a result of that production.  The result therein is a presentation that is even more worth hearing and that much more of a success just as much for its aesthetic element as for its content.  All things considered they make the album in whole, another interesting addition to this year’s field of new rock albums and independent albums.

Terra Firma, the sophomore album from Nick Perri & The Underground Thieves, is a presentation that is well worth hearing and a successful second offering from the band.  That is due in part to its featured musical arrangements.  The arrangements are of note because of the variety of sounds and styles presented from one song to the next.  The lyrical themes, scant as they are, will really have listeners engaged because of the original way in which they are presented.  The record’s production rounds out the album’s most important elements, resulting in just as much engagement and entertainment as that guaranteed by the album’s content.  Each item examined here is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation.  All things considered they make Terra Firma a welcome addition to this year’s field of new rock and independent albums.

Terra Firma is scheduled for release Friday.  More information on the album is available along with all of Nick Perri & The Underground Thieves’ latest news at: