Gena Perala – Exactly Nowhere album review

As an artist who had grown up amidst uncertainty, diversity, and character as the child of two parents who worked in the carnival circuit, Gena Perala transfers this experience into her music, whether intentional or not, seamlessly and to a great degree of skills and musicianship. Having previously released three books of poetry and a debut album, This Ain’t Pretty (2008), Perala has now released her second full length and has further established herself as a signified musician and songwriter. Exactly Nowhere plays out exactly as her childhood may have; full of uncertainty, diversity, character, and is also a very honest, no-holds barred record.

Gena Perala is not your average songwriter and helps blow away barriers and stereotypes that one may associate with a solo musician who sings and writes about the themes of love, heartbreak, and emotional struggles. Every song is so unique and differs so much in scale (yet none being any more significant that the other), sound, and it can really be hard, if not close to impossible, to properly identify Perala without sounding pretentious and a little ridiculous at the expense of multiple genre-headings and sub-headings. From the French themed and sung ‘La Fin’ to the pop-punk, bass driven ‘My Match’, to the country-inspired, prairie romp ‘Tell It To The Stars’, to ‘On Second Thought’ which could fit perfectly well in any 80’s musical, you never really know where the album will take you or what you are up for next. Perala shows off her musical diversity and fearless exploration and adventurism without exactly ‘showing off’, but instead does so with confidence, charm, and great modesty, never reaching for anything out of step or out of reach and as a result each track, no matter what direction she decides to go in, is just as good as the last.

Despite the immense diversity on the album, Perala is always able to tie it all together with her darling, strong, comforting, Southern-rooted vocals that add to not only each song, but each track, her own touch of personality and character. As well, her songs are intensely honest and Perala never strays away from touchy subjects or beats around the bush, always upfront and concise, her willingness to sing things, thoughts, and ideas that we may at first think of ‘weak’ or ‘desperate’, come off as stronger and more charismatic than ever. Never sugar-coating anything yet always able to sing with a sweetness that is hard to match, Perala has a natural knack for storytelling and opening up about certain subjects that others just cannot pull off or whom would never dare.

Whether you are looking to share a tear, enjoy the sun, hibernate in your bed, or feel some empowerment and outright fun, Exactly Nowhere has something for everyone and for any situation but no matter which that may be, Perala will never fail to bring out a creeping smile on your face.

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