Irish singer/songwriter Perry Blake has been dazzling Europeans since 1998, the year his self-titled debut was released.

Irish singer/songwriter Perry Blake has been dazzling Europeans since 1998, the year his self-titled debut was released. With "California," his third studio album, Blake is now getting a much-deserved push in America. Apparently weaned on Burt Bacharach melodies, John Barry film scores and the soul of Motown, Blake—and co-producer/Italian composer Marco Sabiu—craft songs that are as vividly narrative as they are strikingly picturesque. Blake's songs deal in moods and emotions; his cast of characters have loved and lost. "It's a dirty little world/ Full of dirty little complications/And I've been kneeling at your feet," Blake sings in the sweeping "The Road to Hollywood." By the album's closer, "Venus of the Canyon," Blake is alone, in solitude; it is a "silent night." Splendid. Racked by Ryko.—MP

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