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Pervy Perkin - Ink CD (album) cover

INK

Pervy Perkin

 

Progressive Metal

3.81 | 141 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

buddyblueyes
2 stars "Ah, the shotgun approach!" [i pictured Jeff Goldblum saying those words for some reason.]

Bands take many approaches to constructing and building albums. Some can be equated to being laser focused, like a sniper dropping a target at 600 yards out. They are solid with their concept, experience, skills, engineering and business marketing. Other bands are inexperienced, fumblingly firing a shotgun out of fear, hoping something from the spread will hit it's target enough to disable them. Unfortunately, Pervy Perkins is one of those examples. PP is a young band, with lofty ambitions of song complexity and album duration.

But, mostly album duration.

PP has many good listening moments with elaborate sonic textures and music tones. I liked the Opening credits and the intro to Morphosis. There are moments of pizazz. Equally, however, Ink also has many bad listening moments. They have many bland, filler moments that go nowhere and are left unexplored. They have many form changes within their songs, and many styles they wish to tackle with mediocre results. Let's play jazz here. Can we even play jazz? No, but we can fake it (listen to Peanut Butterfly, 2 1/2 min. in) ...And that's a big problem for the avid listening musician. PP is all over the board with forced song form changes, simply for the sake of satisfying their musical ADHD. For every positive listening moment, there's something that takes you out of the experience a few seconds later. If this style of prog -- hyper-prog -- is your cup of tea, then you will enjoy the efforts of this band, sure, but this reviewer highly encourages you to listen to last years mysterious breakout band, Fright Pig. Their album, Out Of The Barnyard is what PP sound like and should aspire to become. Fright Pig has all the song form ADHD, but the record is extremely well crafted, showcasing only the strongest points of individual members. Out Of The Barnyard is more compact at 45 min. and contains well crafted ideas, no filler. The genres attempted throughout are handled with ease and experience, as Fright Pig's musicianship is outstanding (words whispered on the net -- a bunch of Berkelee students. Shhhhh! you didn't hear that from me).

Even before this album was recorded, the band should have sought out an experienced producer, one who would have helped exorcise many of the freshman ideas and mixing pitfalls from this album. A more succinct and condensed approach would have resulted in a better body of work allowing for parts and ideas to be brought fully to fruition. More experience in song crafting would encourage working out stronger vocal passages and lyrical phrases?

And that reminds me...

Vocals. [sigh] Ok, the lyrics are embarrassingly sub par, even more then Arjen's latest release -- which this reviewer thought a new low had been set. But, Arjen's vocalists were recorded exceptionally well and I could clearly understand the singers in the Ayreon project (enough to drive home the fact it was a mind-numbingly tepid concept. The music and arrangements were extraordinary, however). On Ink there simply are no strong vocal melody lines that stick with you and the recorded clarity of the vocals leave much to be desired. In scarce places, it seems there was an attempt at fashioning some type of solo vocal harmony exercise, but nothing anywhere close to what we can expect on, say, a current Moon Safari, A.C.T or Spock's Beard release. There's little in the lyrics that define a clear idea of what any given song is even about. PP approaches words as trite afterthought, investing the majority of their song crafting skills into needless compositional complexity. Oh, and lest I forget: the cringe-worthy high notes! At 5:15 of the song New Dawn this reviewer became sterile. No joke. The "little swimmer" count went to zero. While admirable as a new medical breakthrough, high notes as sonic birth control should come with a warning label. As much as I hoped never to hear that attempt at a high note again, there are countless more throughout the recording. I found myself saying "no, don't do that" aloud, shaking my head in disbelief numerous times. This begs the question: "did the band show the final pass of this recording to only their parents for criticism?" There are countless inaudible phrases being sung, eye-watering high notes, laughable vocal scoops, etc. (visit 14:50 min into Morphosis. And may whatever deity you worship protect you).

Aside from the vocal work the drum parts could also have been synched and quantized to the music little more thoroughly in parts. And, simply, just plain recorded and mixed better. Just comparing the sound of the drums to what Gavin Harrison does on Porcupine Tree shows the stark contrast between a 5-star band's quality audio engineering vs. the multitude of startups in the basement. Seriously, switch back and forth between the two. The drums and overall sound production on Ink is thinner, weightless and more brittle by comparison.

Which leads us to: Length.

No need to harp on this, but geezus, this is one unnecessarily long, jimmy-leg of a recording. Why not just make two albums, increase potential product sales, and release them in different quarters of the year, keeping your name and brand identity in circulation longer? That would have been a far better band business marketing strategy.

This is a harsh critique, and it's unfortunate that Pervy is taking a beating here as the musicians (sans vocals) are somewhat competent on their instruments, but by no means are they the next generation of endorsed corporate influencers -- yet. Distill it down to the core: as a whole, they're ambitious budding song writers who are decent musicians with a multitude of ideas being thrown out for vanity sake. A wanton lust to be the next multi-genred prog metal band. There's promise, though. Future recordings (in the right hands of an experienced song writer) would produce better results. Aside from the negatives (which are tangible barriers that can be easily overcome) this reviewer, however harsh now, believes there is a future rife with potential for this band. Hopefully this also encourages the mass listening audience to take the time, sit, and properly evaluate a little more critically, too. The spotify generation seems unable to make it through more than 30 seconds of a song, before forwarding to the next song. In this day and age where every musician with ProTools LE is sitting at home splicing together regurgitated guitar riffs, half-assured vocal melodies and pseudo-songs, we the avid listeners, need to go over it with a fine tooth comb to find out where that gold standard for music once was. There's far too much mediocrity being praised as the next coming of christ. We should hold our 5-star bands to lofty standards for consideration: song composition, the musician's listening and arranging abilities, professional vocals, quality lyrics and album production. PP fell a little short in many of the categories, but again, they're still a relatively new, growing and maturing band. They have the requisite skills to attain something more. A solid producer, in a quality recording facility, and an exceptionally strong singer would serve them well and could take them to the professional, 5-star level we all know they aspire to attain.

buddyblueyes | 2/5 |

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