There’s nothing understated about Shawn Michael Perry & Only the Brave. From song titles like “Run 2 U” utilizing classic rock ’n’ roll abbreviation to gratuitous guitar solos to lyrics that vaguely explore notions of freedom and cultural identity, every possible theatrical measure is unearthed.
Perry, a Missoula-based American Indian, has a penchant for raise-your-lighter compositions bursting with Steve Perry-like flair and seemingly devoid of irony. “Freedom,” for instance, begins with a crack of thunder before launching into high-powered riffs. Lines like “Can’t you see the fight’s not over” appear reasonable in a cultural context. But other lyrics like, “Shame on the day, it brings on the night” mimic Dio’s “Shame on the Night” so closely (“shame on the night, you’ve stolen the day”), the divide between reality and fantasy begins to crumble. Not that that’s a bad thing. In fact, one could argue it makes this effort more interesting.
Only the Brave is tightly strung with all the gloss and glory of seamless production, and Perry has a confident, velvety voice, easy on the ears in even his most histrionic moments. Whatever the intent and whether you find the album awesome or ridiculous—and it’s definitely both—it certainly has some balls. (Erika Fredrickson)
Shawn Michael Perry appears at Hastings Saturday, Nov. 10, at 1 PM, for a CD-signing and video premier.