The Persian Leaps: Electrical Living

The Persian Leaps’ “Electrical Living” is available for purchase on BandCamp. You can also stream it on Spotify. The album art above was created by Jon Hunt. Follow them on Twitter and visit their Website for more information.

Singer / Guitarist Drew Forsberg has carved out an interesting and unique niche for himself in the realm of rock / pop music. The majority of musicians who write and perform music for a living align themselves to a genre, or perhaps a combination of them, and ultimately are bound to the attitudes and accouterments of that genre. Of course, there are “shape shifters” who create new genres out of existing norms…the first wave of “Progressive Rock” via Yes, Genesis, King Crimson, and ELP is a good example, but once they were established, so was a new (and ultimately restricting) Book of Rules. The most creative artists…to quote Eddie Van Halen…learn the book, and then throw it away.

Drew’s playground is the world of Power Trio / Power Pop music, but he plays by his own rules. He adds a few layers of mystery and ambiguity to his work, keeping things interesting. In this genre, you can go in a couple of dramatically different directions. You can craft light, lively pop songs with a literal, one dimensional meaning. Many of these songs have become massive hits. You can also go cerebral…think drummer Neil Peart’s lyrics for Rush. If a musician can find a comfortable middle ground…call it Pure Pop for Thinking People…they can appeal to both groups without alienating the other.

Drew found that “sweet spot.”

A key to understanding Drew’s approach to his music is best summed up in his story about the inspiration for the new album’s title:

“Electrical Living” is a phrase I saw on an old appliance brochure at a Minnesota Historical Society exhibit about American suburbia in the ’50s and ’60s. Apparently, the idea was that the promise of the future could only be achieved by buying the latest refrigerators and stoves. When I saw that phrase, I knew right away that I’d found an album name. Our album doesn’t have anything thematically to do with the title, but I like to think that electric guitars also hold the key to our future.

There you have it…it’s a three-dimensional worldview, but he’s giving you enough food for thought so that you can draw your own conclusions. Too much kills the fun of discovery. Too little generates nothing but confusion. Drew likes being somewhere in the middle, and he wants you in there with him.

The seeds of The Persian Leaps were planted in Drew’s college days. In 2012, after years of writing music under that name, he formed a band proper to record a series of EPs that stretched to 2018, when he retired the band as a live act and returned to the studio with fellow musician Jon Hunt, who is also the graphic designer who created the cover art for most of the band’s releases to date. The result of their efforts is the new Electrical Living album.

The Persian Leaps: Drew Forsberg (L) and Jon Hunt (R). Photo courtesy of Rouse Productions.

These were the impressions i had as I gave it a spin.

“Electrical Living” begins intriguingly, with a 55 second tease…“The Art Form,” which comes flying out of the gates like a revved-up distant cousin of U2’s “I Will Follow.” After one solid verse, it fades. It’s not your customary opener, but it definitely captures your attention, and lets you know that you’re in for more than a traditional ride through a collection of pop songs.

That leads into a recent Big Stir Records Single of the Week, “Catnip For Cupid,” with a big, bold, full-frontal assault of guitar, bass, and drums. “Catnip, on the tongue…tingles, and lingers on…” Drew reveals that the song’s origins are found in the TV show Arrow, in which the villain, Cupid, is lured with some “irresistible bait.” One form of pop culture collides into another in a song that’s hard rocking, tuneful, and playful.

“Expert Witness” owes as much to mid-to-late British Invasion, specifically the first few Who albums, as it does to power pop. The repeated refrain, “No expert…no expert…she’s no expert,” followed by a jangly guitar fade-out, is pure late-60s “across the pond” rock.

“Sweet Nothings” is a propulsive tune that’s driven by bass, drums, and a twangy guitar lick with clean-while-distorted rhythm guitar moving it all along. The band has an excellent grasp of dynamics, the whole “stop and start” transitions from subdued into more hard-charging passages.

“About Your Record” is a mid-tempo number. “I know about your record, I already know…” It’s not a song about spinning wax, it’s about the past revealed in the present. Drew describes it as “the idea of an older person sitting down at a campfire with their younger self and saying the words from the song, telling them that they can just let go and forgive themselves.” It glides along in sublime Petty / Byrds fashion, with nicely strummed and ringing guitars and harmony vocals.

“How We Win” returns to the guitar, bass and drums wall of sound. It has the feel of a slightly slowed down, less punky Ramones, specifically in the chord changes and vocal delivery. Imagine one of their more tuneful workouts like their cover of The Searchers’ 1964 hit “Needles And Pins” and you’ll see the parallels. There’s another clever instance of wordplay in the chorus…“How we win is a well-kept secret…”

“The Problem Is” opens with a clean, picked guitar figure, and airy background vocals. This could easily be a single…all of the elements add up to “airplay.”

“Take Me To The Mountain” brings more Who echoes, especially via the chord changes in the chorus and the “Take…take me to the mountain” lyrics. A tasty guitar solo brings the song into its closing moments.

“Chalk Line Behemoth” echoes Joey Ramone once again, but it’s a subtle hint, not a by-the-numbers homage. It’s a dynamic, a color in the sonic palate. that’s a perfect element added to the more traditional power pop vibe.

“When Can I See You,” is a ballad, in which the “rings like a bell” guitar sound is the centerpiece. It’s melodic, laid back, very easy-going and a fine way balance the more distorted, rocking pieces of a project that was clearly a labor of love.

“Dominoes” closes the album like a cool movie with an even cooler song that plays over the end credits. It has more of that precise, even-tempo British Invasion chug-along, sing-along feel from the best hit singles of the era.

The album is a winner on all levels. This is a band to watch, this is an album to add to your collection.