It’s possible that Angela Perley’s 4:30 came out at the perfect time.
My first experience with Angela Perley was back in 2013 (I think?) at the Columbus Alive Bands to Watch Showcase. She showcased alongside acts like surf-rockers Bummers and indie alt-pop act Post Coma Network. At the time, she was still performing under the moniker Angela Perley and the Howlin’ Moons, and I was still in my “meh” phase when it came to country and Americana music.
Things change, though. Namely, I spent a lot of time in Nashville on business. Kacey Musgraves and Cassadee Pope taught me a lot about country tunes and how they can be used to push boundaries, or just be enjoyable for the sake of being enjoyable. This past New Year’s Eve I spent it in Nashville watching acts like Brett Young bring the more mainstream sound to big audiences too. Meanwhile, Angela Perley was undergoing a transformation of her own.
It would be a stretch to call 4:30 a country record. But her swagger is still very much present. Elements of that vibey indie rock that I love emerge in this record as well, resulting in a delightful concoction that is well-timed with my own musical taste evolution.
Speaking of swagger, there are definitely moments on this album that highlight that quality more than others. “Back in Time” is one of those. It’s a fun, driving song that would be perfect for an outdoor festival environment. I was just in Nashville on business again and attended the Live on the Green Festival for the first time, and thought this would fit the environment perfectly—off Broadway, amongst true music lovers of all walks of life. “Dangerous Love” has one of my favorite choruses on the album, with a fun solo in the bridge to add a bit of attitude.
What this record really excels at, though is that vibey medium between indie and Americana. “He Rides High” conjures effects of pensive thoughts above a soft wail of a guitar, an effect that’s neither cheery nor poignant—just pleasantly thoughtful. “Snake Charmer” takes the effects of “He Rides High” a few steps further, formulating an endearing love song. Sometimes, like in “Lost and Found,” Perley seems to just get lost in quiet contemplation and let the guitar articulate what words cannot. These sorts of songs are definitely concentrated near the middle of the record, just like a live show. She tells a story in line with her habits to stay up until 4:30AM (where the album gets its title) and the ebbs and flows of the creative process. Being in solitude when everyone else is asleep has a way of bringing every emotion to the surface—excitement and heartbreak alike.
Angela Perley has become one of the pillars of the Columbus scene over the past few years, and this album brought me into a deeper understanding as to why that is. I’m a little bummed I missed the album release show but would definitely recommend catching her live if you can; she tours frequently outside of Ohio.