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Perfect Beings - Perfect Beings CD (album) cover

PERFECT BEINGS

Perfect Beings

 

Crossover Prog

3.87 | 404 ratings

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FragileKings
Prog Reviewer
4 stars As I have stated previously, one of my little pleasures is to see what bands and artists are featured on the PA homepage either in the latest posted reviews or in the most popular of the last 24 hours. I have become acquainted with a good number of bands this way, and Perfect Beings is one of the latest to reach me thanks to a review posted a few weeks back.

First, it was an interesting coincidence because around the same time I spotted the fabulous, Roger Dean- inspired cover of Johannes Luley's solo album and sought out information on this guitarist who was the founder of Moth Vellum, another band I had heard about and checked out on Amazon Japan, only to find that the album is available as a download only. Why is this a coincidence? Because Johannes also put together Perfect Beings, and very fortunately, I was able to order the album on CD.

This is an album of music that makes impression after impression. First and foremost, it is a beautiful album. I mean, the cover is intriguing, the digipak gorgeous, the artwork thoughtful and above all, the music is really wonderful. For those of you who feel Yes is as heavy as you want your prog to be, this album is worth looking into.

But what do we have here? From the first play through I wanted to hear it again and then a third time. All the way through. And later once more all the way through. Indeed, this is an album that has been difficult to strip apart and pull off a couple of winning tracks for playlists. Right from the start I don't feel inclined to hit skip at all. Even now after a few listens through, I am finding it difficult to say which is a favourite track. Whenever I try to select a song or two for a playlist of recent acquisitions, I end up choosing four or five consecutive tracks.

But, yes, what do we have here? Well, right off the bat you'll find yourself in Beatles territory with a Paul McCartney-styled vocal bit from the latter half of the sixties. You'll also encounter lots of Yes, particularly from around 'Going for the One' and that fantastic song 'Awaken'. I also felt there was a tiny bit of Camel, some Tears for Fears circa 'Seeds of Love' and It Bites from the late eighties, some nineties Brit Pop (the more mellow and well-behaved kind), some Pure Reason Revolution from the 00's and even some Big Big Train of recent years. And would you look at that! We have bits of musical inspiration from the last 55 years or more, all fitted suitably together on a modern album.

It's been said that a lot of prog bands these days are not actually progressive but rather retrogressive. They formulate a recipe using various concoctions of the classic greats like Yes, Genesis, King Crimson, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Pink Floyd or others. Who is actually creating something new? I believe prog can be compared to the Second Law of Thermo Dynamics. Basically, energy seeks to spread out and achieve equilibrium. In the heyday of prog, everybody was trying to do something different. Jazz, classical, folk, and world music were being plundered by musicians seeking to find that original sound for their band. These days, however, there is little or no room left to spread. As Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull said in an interview with Rick Wakeman, rock has branched out as much as it can. It is all wrapped up with a neat little bow. So progressive artists of the day are finding there are no new coffers to raid but plenty of stock in the prog coffers already. What counts these days is how convincingly a new band can combine its derivations into something that is attractive and gives the band a unique sound.

Which brings me back to this review. There is quite an impressive collection of inspirations. I have read other reviews on the band's web site where also XTC, Pink Floyd and a few other names were mentioned as well.

The album is a loosely based narrative of a science fiction book about an artificial intelligence in a post- apocalyptic world. Among all the various influential bands that I have already mentioned, you can expect to hear beautiful acoustic guitar, electric guitar that will make you sure Steve Howe is on there, some very appropriate and at times creative drumming, a bass guitar that bears the replicated spirit of Chris Squire, and some pleasant use of piano and other keyboards. Vocalist Ryan Hurtgen sings with a soothing voice that never gets edgy or gruff though he does try to pull off a theatrical scream at one point (please do not try again). Though the music can get a little excited at times, as in 'program_kid' with a vigorous Yes / Camel passage, there's no reason to shout, hammer out power chords, or raise hell on the drums. The truly surprising thing is that this is the most English-sounding American band I have ever heard!

I give this album a firm four stars. The prog quotient is very high even though blatantly derivative at times, and I can listen to this album all the way through without tiring of the music. The thing that stays my hand from clicking on that fifth star is that I cannot find any songs which really blow me away. There are no standout tracks for me, even though some are surely better contenders than others. For me, a five-star album should have a few killer tracks for stand-alone play as well as be an album that is enjoyable to listen to from beginning to end. I think this is one album worth recommending and I am sure most prog fans on this site will award it three to five stars.

FragileKings | 4/5 |

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