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Dreaming in Stereo

Dreaming in Stereo

(Van Gogh Records)

If there's one thing that's evident from the outset about multi-instrumental wünderkind Fernando Perdomo — aside from the already established fact that he's one of South Florida's most gifted songwriters and musicians — it's that he's obviously listened to a lot of classic albums in his day. He flaunts his well-stocked vinyl library both on the inner sleeve of this new CD and in the accompanying video for the lead single, "Steal This Song." But Perdomo proves adept at transferring those collective influences into original songs that shine.

Traces of the Beatles, ELO, the Beach Boys, and the Moody Blues permeate this self-titled set, giving each track an instant familiarity that seizes hold at first encounter. That's owed in large part to the effusive arrangements that accompany songs such as "Misery Loves Companies," "Lazy," "Smile," and "Decisions, Decisions," all of which are endowed with sumptuously compelling choruses.

Then there's the fact that each track is embossed with a glossy pop sheen and ornate orchestration. Perdomo has a knack for creating hooks that instantly engage, boosted considerably by intricate textures.

Happily, though, Dreaming in Stereo offers more than sugary-sweet excess. Perdomo's lyrical twists reflect a knowing perspective of the music biz and all its various pitfalls. Consequently, "Steal This Song" rails against those who would plunder a musician's wares through illegal downloads. Meanwhile, "I'm Not Gonna Move to L.A." touts his loyalty to the local scene over opportunities offered in an entertainment mecca like Los Angeles. Ultimately, though, Perdomo's appeal derives from craft and creativity and a lingering sense that he will maintain this unmistakable presence for a long time to come.

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Lee Zimmerman

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