It is quite a rare thing in the music industry for someone to have vocal control as smooth as Amy Lee or Karen Carpenter while managing to simultaneously exhibit the same volume of emotion that a tortured entity like Janis Joplin would – and yet Taylor Pearlstein manages to encapsulate it all.

The Perfect Blue EP is a brutally raw insight into an artist who has no qualms about laying out their bare soul, a woman who gives the impression she would tear out her own heart and offer it to the one that she desires above everything else. The EP is not only mesmerising in terms of its emotional impact, the lyricism is nothing short of astonishing. In a verse on ‘The Difference’, Pearlstein personifies veins on a leaf and compares them to her own. Such delicate, intricate song writing is a rarity in a world full of hollow words and pop commercialism, Pearlstein’s poetic approach to crafting music is a breath of fresh air.

Perfect Blue is a sublime project, especially for a first attempt at a full body of work. It’s difficult to offer a critique for such an honest and introspective piece of art. Perhaps the singular negative is that a song like ‘Pour Away’ is too short in duration and doesn’t offer enough in contrast to the other additions on the EP, although the track is nonetheless still full of whimsy and exemplifies haunting harmonies that could probably induce levitation. To counteract that minor criticism however, if Perfect Blue was the length of a full studio album, it would have practically no room for improvement.

‘Sandman’, the first single from the project is a standout for sure, the tracks instrumentation is pristine and simplistic, yet seamlessly compliments Pearlstein’s ethereal vocal delivery. It’s imperative that an artist is able to acknowledge their musical strengths and both singles released prior to the full body of work (the latter being the gut-wrenching ‘The Difference’) demonstrate how outstanding Taylor Pearlstein can be when on top form, which she appears to be throughout the entire record.

Although loneliness is intertwined with various other themes throughout the EP, it is an evident catalyst for the concoction of this project. “When I said I was ready, I didn’t know what ready meant” is a spectacular line embedded in the concluding track, ‘What Gave’ and it will undoubtedly strike a chord with anybody that’s felt the same sense of self doubt before. ‘What Gave’ is a ballad that runs for over 7 minutes, offering an emotional tear-jerking whirlwind that concludes with the singer practically pleading for answers. It’s a flawless piece that showcases Pearlstein’s anguish in a way that the rest of the record doesn’t fully manage to do. Furthermore, releasing such a lengthy ballad and still having the listener crave more is no easy feat, it’s actually fairly difficult to recall any other modern artist that would be able to accomplish such a task.

Perfect Blue is a milestone in Pearlstein’s career and a blinding gem in her crown, it sets out to shatter your heart, mend it and then revisit that same wound all in 23 minutes. Until today, I’d not heard the magic of Taylor Pearlstein and after today, I don’t want to listen to anything but her for the foreseeable future. If you fuse her willingness to offer unfiltered emotion with the raw passion we’ve heard on this body of work, Pearlstein could single-handedly redefine the landscape of alternative music.

Taylor Pearlstein: Perfect Blue – Out 1st December 2023 (Pearl Records)


Gave – YouTube