Oh Glistening Onion, The Nighttime Is Coming

Feb 17, 2023
Web Exclusive

By Mark Moody

If you missed Pearla’s (aka Nicole Rodriguez) 2019 EP Quilting & Other Activities, it’s probably for the best. The anxiety of waiting three years for her debut album would have only added to the daily challenges of life. With a folky underpinning, done up by Trey Pollard’s Spacebomb strings and horns treatment, Oh Glistening Onion, The Nighttime Is Coming is a quirk-filled joy to explore.

Rodriguez confronts her own struggles head-on with the album’s emotive centerpiece, “Effort.” And low-key charmers, like the endearing oddity of “Ming the Clam,” or “Balm,” with its beautiful imagery, give the album a relaxed, but surefooted energy. Touchstones to some of the most treasured acoustic-based songwriters of the ’70s abound here, such as Cat Stevens or Vashti Bunyan, but elsewhere there are powerful blasts of modernity, like “About Hunger, About Love,” which echoes Courtney Marie Andrews at her belting it out best.

Simply put, Oh Glistening Onion, The Nighttime Is Coming is gorgeous and will yield its charms to you slowly over repeated listens. But ultimately Rodriguez puts her listener in a precarious position. Like Bunyan’s sole album of the ’70s, or other lost classics, such as James Talley’s The Road to Torreon or Richard Buckner’s Bloomed, do you tell your friends about this one or keep the secret for yourself? (www.pearlamusic.com)

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