EP Review: Sandy McKnight with Fernando Perdomo – San Fernando Blitz

Sandy McKnight with Fernando Perdomo – San Fernando Blitz

image courtesy of Glass Onyon PR

EP Review of Sandy McKnight with Fernando Perdomo: San Fernando Blitz (Twenty2Records)

Sandy McKnight taps into that ’50s/’60s rock ‘n roll vibe much like bands like Weezer did with hits like “Buddy Holly” in the ’90s. With elements of the Beach Boys and probably many of the influences indie pop singer/songwriter Richard X. Heyman taps into to create his timeless pop-rock music, San Fernando Blitz is an album of well-crafted rock ‘n roll that’s guaranteed to entertain multiple generations and is certain to age well.

On this disc, Sandy’s joined by Fernando Perdomo. You’ve read about guitar-master Perdomo before at Geoff Wilbur’s Music Blog before, specifically when we reviewed his album The Golden Hour a few years ago. It’s a pairing of talent that’s likely to produce exceptional music, and, indeed, it does.

This really is a charming throwback almost. All six songs are less than 3 minutes long, and they’re like their own individual slices of rock ‘n roll sunshine, bright and cheerful, kind of what you’d think Randy Newman might write for a modern retro rock ‘n roll band.

“Living on the West Side” opens things up with a hooky cheerfulness. “C’mon C’mon C’mon” follows by adding a hint of California surf rock to the mix, punctuated by noticeably fun guitar noodling.

“Melody Anne” is the melancholy sock hop number of the disc. “Pay It Any Mind” has a similar vibe, but opens with a quick burst of guitar and a neat little bridge solo, while also sporting some subtly hidden guitarwork that keeps the tempo moving along nicely.

“Why Make Promises?” adds more modern, progressive guitarwork to the mix, coupled with a more emphatic – what would possibly pass as explosive on this laid-back disc – vocal line. This song softly soars, as if dancing on a grassy hill overlooking the ocean, metaphorically speaking. And since this whole EP has an old-time California rock ‘n roll feel, that’d be the Pacific Ocean.

“Seven Words” adds a little more wall-of-music feeling to the mix atop a strong rhythm that bounces more than it sways. The guitar has a little more crunch, too. Though not significantly different from the overall feeling of the disc, “Seven Words” ends the collection with a little more power than found elsewhere. Not much, just a little. Just enough to nudge you toward to decision of moving on to the next album or repeating this one, both reasonable choice.

In its totality, San Fernando Blitz is a fun, short EP. It’s a bright, cheerful, throwback rock ‘n roll excursion and a welcome collection to my listening library.

Looking Ahead

You can find Sandy’s upcoming live performances on the “Events” page of his website.

Fernando’s a busy dude, and rightfully so. I’ve seen his name attached to two other projects just since I added this EP to my playlist. I don’t see a live gig listing on his website, but Fernando does have an “Events” tab on his Facebook page.

Album Review: Fernando Perdomo – The Golden Hour

Album Review of Fernando Perdomo: The Golden Hour

Fernando Perdomo is a modern manifestation of a ’70s/’80s soft rock reimagination of Tom Jones, crooning love songs with warm, fully orchestrated rock ‘n roll sound beds. Musically, he’s a ’70s/’80s slow rocker, someone whose music suggests influences from Moody Blues to John Lennon, his rolling soft rock numbers offering hints of the more piano-heavy numbers from the repertoires of Kansas or Styx.

The Golden Hour kicks off with “Sunset (Intro),” a piano intro that leads into a rich, lush, slow, Moody Blues-esque crooner, “Sleep.”

Fernando then picks up the tempo with “Spotlight Smile,” a familiarly comfortable, totally laid-back yet energetic ’70s guitar pop-rock-ish number, something well-suited to a concert on the beach. Perhaps the beach shown on the album cover.

Fernando Perdomo - The Golden Hour

image courtesy of ACR Management

Indeed, beaches, palm trees, and sunsets seem to be the perfect backdrop for most of The Golden Hour‘s songs. The next track, “Look At the Moon,” deploys some mild guitar hooks a bit reminiscent of Cheap Trick. Mellow Cheap Trick.

“Here With Me” is a nice ballad, its guitar hinting at a Hawaiian twang. “Sunset,” meanwhile, opens with a guitar sound and vocal intro relatively akin to Pink Floyd. The mellowest Pink Floyd you’ve ever heard.

“Love Loss Repeat” is one of my favorite songs on the album, lyrically a clever thought, with standard mid-tempo drumming, mellowly powerful melodic rises and falls, and interesting supplemental harmonies. Perhaps my very favorite is “I Feel (Therefore I Am),” with an interesting, classic guitar line, mid-tempo rock with a bit of an ’80s distorted axe flair.

A couple more songs are standouts, as well. “When You’re Here With Me” is a close-your-eyes, turn-out-the-lights slow rock swayer, suitable for an arena full of lighters held high, with a late-song guitar solo driving home that classic arena rock lineage. And album-ender “Gold,” even though it protests “I’m tired of sleeping/It’s time to live” sways and jangles almost as if it wants to put the listener to sleep. As such, it’s a great closing number, gently lifting the covers up on this engaging 13-song soft, classic, ’70s-era, lushly produced pop-rock album and putting it to bed.

Excellent musicianship, tight songwriting, and warm, precise production combine to deliver The Golden Hour, a disc that clearly showcases Fernando’s talent from the first listen and whose songs’ initially apparent strengths grow on you with repeated listens, as you start to notice the precision and interesting details.

Kansas, Cheap Trick, Moody Blues… Fernando Perdomo is a soft pop-rock version of a lot of my favorite old rock bands. And that’s pretty cool for whenever I want to hear good music with rich, lush, full production, but don’t want it too loud. Per Fernando’s website, The LA Weekly says he’s “The millennial answer to Todd Rundgren.” Yeah. I wish I had thought of that.

Looking Ahead

I don’t see any upcoming shows listed on the Events tab of Fernando’s Facebook page, but be sure to check back regularly to see, particularly if you’re in southern California, since he’s based in Los Angeles.