By Brady Smith
Like a fine single malt, music seems to get better with age. Kenny Perkins’ Wild Frontier siphons a plethora of old and new genres into a barrel and waits until it produces a taste pleasing to all the senses. B.B. King blues, Ben Harper alternative and Van Morrison lyricism underpin the slew of distorted guitars, rhythmic drums and raspy-yet-trained vocals that bite through the full-bodied album.
Most artists try and spread their strongest songs throughout the album, but Perkins throws hits in your face time after time as if he has something to prove. “Tiny Distractions” is the pop hit of the album; carrying smooth guitar licks along with a drizzle of dynamic lyrics creating buoyant acceptability. But the album is much deeper than the opening track would lead you to believe. “Need to Believe” beckons southern blues-rock to its forefront while holding true to the album’s formulaic style.
The trail of hits starts to whimper out past the halfway point, but not to the point of lessening the album’s impact. “Blind Lead the Blind” conjures up images of flying pigs and rolling thunder, but the strong lyrics don’t cover up the lackluster, plain musical composition in the back. “Who But An Angel” showcases layered vocals that mimic Van Morrison’s distinct voice, but it seems to be a track that Van himself may have tossed out.
Still, Perkins shows that he was raised during one of the greatest generations of music. This is something that my mother would dance to – and relentlessly force me to join her in – but when she heads to bed, I’ll be dancing to it too.