Sandro Perri Tiny Mirrors

Sandro PerriTiny Mirrors
Ripe with graceful melodies and ingenious lyricism, Tiny Mirrors is a confident, gorgeous statement by Toronto’s Sandro Perri. Stepping out from his instrumental "electronic” moniker Polmo Polpo, Perri reveals a wondrous lead voice teetering between tense fragility and the sly courage of its convictions. The first tentative steps towards this new identity came with last year’s Plays Polmo Polpo, Perri’s surprising reinterpretation of his own music augmented by his voice. It helped that this heretofore-unheard instrument was able to shape his masterful wordplay, delivered with an attention to poetic space and phrasing. On Tiny Mirrors, Perri presents a wholehearted slew of finely crafted lyrics that are dense, pointed and provocative. Gathering a cast from Toronto’s nebulous improvised music community, including members of the Silt, Rock Plaza Central and AIMToronto, Perri and his compadres explore and expand the structures of pop and folk songs, arriving at something wholly unique. The interaction is rendered with purity and the joy of collaboration comes through clearly on the solemn "Family Tree,” the whimsical "You’re the One” and the broken ’70s soul of "Love is Real.” Daring and remarkably coherent, Tiny Mirrors is the prettiest art rock record out of Toronto’s underground in years.

Why shift from instrumentals to lyric writing?
They’re both worlds I’ve always been interested in and just never had the confidence to explore in a more public setting. Even as a kid I was involved in trying to write songs and singing but never developed that direction, particularly once I got into jazz and felt like I should be an instrumentalist, because singing is a whole other world. I feel like they’re different approaches but ultimately come from the same place and maybe aren’t so extremely different.

I can’t believe you’ve been sitting on these lyrics.
(Laughs) Thank you. It comes from a combination of subconscious and conscious decision-making. Generally I work from a position of phonetic, linguistic and phrasing ideas that grow into grander ideas that are always connected to my feelings at the time.

How did the improvised musicians mesh with your songs?
It was a combination of choosing the right players — people who could handle that freedom and take it somewhere — and a little bit of rehearsing. Everybody contributed in a massive way and I tried to bring songs that were strong enough on their own to give these guys all kinds of freedom to play.