Review: The Petal Falls – Everything About You
September 2nd, 2022
Reviewer: Jason Hopper
I have a soft spot in my heart for late-80s/early 90s AOR pop rock. Obscure bands like Taxxi, 1927, Dominoe and others with that acoustic based rock sound resonate with me in a unique way. Although I am a huge fan of hard rock and heavy metal, this type of sound breaks up my listening experience to offer something sonically refreshing. Not to be mistaken with the newly termed yacht rock, the bands mentioned had a slight edge to them that made you feel that these bands could rock hard if they so chose to, but preferred the soulfulness offered by the melodies associated with AOR. If you dig that type of music like I do, then you need to add The Petal Falls to your list of bands to check out.
The Petal Falls is a band from the UK that originally got their start in the mid/late 90s. Through a series of events, they broke up and founder/lead singer Keith Leahy resurrected the band years later, with the goal of releasing four albums worth of their original material from the 90’s. They released two previous albums, and now we have their third release, ‘Everything About You‘. If there is one word that could describe this album, it would be class.
Mr. Leahy has a firm understanding of pop song structure and melody, with all of the songs having the potential to be released as singles. Some personal favorites include the soulful, mid-tempo ‘The Sun In Her Eyes’, the acoustic-driven urgency of ‘Testament of Love’ and the faster paced ‘Nothing New’. The latter is a great example of strong songwriting composition. Normally I find a chorus that solely repeats the title to be monotonous and lazy. What Mr. Leahy does it take four simple words (It ain’t nothing new) and by utilizing effective word repetition, vocal fluctuations, and strong chord progression, he creates a hook that resonates with the listener. Brilliant stuff.
A special mention has to be given about the production on this album. It sounds stellar by not sounding modern. Rather than the typical wall of sound that modern music is associated with over the last twenty years, this album sounds like it was produced in the 80s/early 90s. You can hear the range clearly between all the instruments. With the different instruments allowed to breathe and sonically fluctuate, it makes for a refreshing listening experience. Louder is not always better when underlying tones get lost in the mix. Producer John King remembered that and does a masterful job of bringing these songs the respect they deserve.
The whole album sounds like an amalgam of 80s soundtrack rock heard in a variety of movies of that time. If I was told that this was a lost album from the 80s, I would absolutely believe that to be true. The Petal Falls is as classy as their album cover suggests. If you are looking for well crafted songs that match the output of someone like Richard Marx, then don’t hesitate one minute longer to check this band out. The surprise of the year for me.