Black Music Matters Festival

Perfect Stranger

You Have the Right to Remain Silent – 1995 (Curb)

Reviewed by Jana Pendragon

CDs by Perfect Stranger

This major label debut from the Texas natives shows promise, but there seems to be an unevenness that is unsettling. Some cuts are on target (the Jim Lauderdale-Gary Nicholson tune "It's Up to You"), while others are way off ("I Remember the Ride" and "One More Repossession"). These cuts as well as "Who Are You" and the band's hot hit the title track, seem empty. The performances are tired and boring. "I Am A Stranger Here Myself" fits this description as well. On the other hand, "It's Up to You" and the high-spirited Vince Gill-Kostas composition "Ridin' the Rodeo" show some real power and punch. Especially good is the cover of the Mel Tillis-Webb Pierce tune "I Ain't Never." This one is a treasure that delivers in every way, proving the boys do indeed have talent. "Cut Me Off" and the closing "Even the Jukebox Can't Forget" also are good.

But there seems to be too much emphasis on pleasing Nashville with just the right sound and amount of overproduction. This detracts from the music and makes Perfect Stranger seem like just another manufactured band seeking to fit the mold.