“Regards from a Southern Town,” the lead track on The No One Faction‘s most recent LP, The Echo And Narcissus, is a hand-clapping, sweeping harmony, soaring fiddle affair. Its day-dreamy leanings recall (subtly) The Dream Academy — specifically that band’s “Life in a Northern Town.”
The No One Faction is the project of Asheville-born Jaron Pearlman. He’s now an audio engineer based in Atlanta. His father is local guitarist Jonathan “JP” Pearlman of Alien Music Club. But The No One Faction shares little with Alien Music Club’s jazz compositions. “Like Leaves” is brisk and airy is the first cool days of Autumn. It swirls and pulses with its own kinetic energy, both percussive and organic.
Jaron has an ear for collaboration, pulling from a pool of musicians that include Old North State musicians Dillon and Jantzen Wray, who add their voices to the spooky aptly-named “Dark Roads.” Jaron’s father lends a lead guitar part to ocean-swept “Pretty Mary K” (an Elliot Smith cover), which builds on gentle percussion and the warm ease of Pearlman’s tenor.
Jaron, right, with collaborator Ben Williams who plays bass on much of the album.
There are hints of The Beatles and The Beachboys in the way the songs morph and kaleidoscope. Jaron experiments without ever losing the thread. Jonathan and his guitar return on the duskier “In Her Thoughts For Tomorrow.” It’s a romantic twirl through dream-pop that begins and ends with chiming bell sounds.
Stephanie Morgan of Asheville’s stephaniesid sings on “36-81,” a song that would be at home on a stephaniesid album. It’s poignant but kind of dancey. It evokes images and moods, a watercolor of sights from the window of a moving car. A haunting violin part by Lauren Jenkins rounds out the track.
“Just Breathe” (with Indigo Girls’ Amy Ray adding vocals) is, in fact, a breathless gallop through creshendoing emotions and esoteric musings. “I booked my flight and took my assigned place in life,” Jaron sings. It’s a song that nods to the likes of Jason Mraz and The Plain White T’s, only its pop aesthetic is more poetic, more edgy.
The shimmying, Gypsy-ish instrumental “Interlude” is a standout, as is the fierce “Put To Sleep” — the most urban of the album’s offering.
While the No One Faction doesn’t have any upcoming shows listed, the whole of The Echo And Narcissus can be listened to here. Album art by Daniel McClendon.