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Perhaps - Volume One CD (album) cover




Post Rock/Math rock

3.97 | 107 ratings

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5 stars Volume One by PERHAPS is without question one of the most intriguing albums I've heard in recent years. This instrumental opus explores just about every aspect of progressive rock music that I love. Previous reviews make comparisons to YES and GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR, and although I wholeheartedly agree with the many similarities that PERHAPS draws from these groups, I find Volume One transcends some of these comparisons as it is a wholly original piece of music. But it is tremendously difficult to describe and review an entirely instrumental album without listing similar artists. On the whole I recognize just as much HAWKWIND and MC5 influence in the music as I do CAN and GONG. Highly recommended for anyone interested in groundbreaking music.

The production on Volume One is top notch, and was apparently recorded live to all analog equipment in a basement studio. The atmosphere of this album is on par with such masterpieces of the progressive rock genre as Close To The Edge or Selling England By The Pound, and I feel this is in part due to the production process. This record sounds like it could have been recorded in the 70's.

The album begins with a collage of gongs and various percussion along with some spacey synthesizers. This sets the mood and lets the listener know that they are in for something of a journey. This introduction/ambient section slowly but surely builds into a YES or KING CRIMSON style explosion of notes. Several main melodies are stated by the guitar and bass with the drums frenziedly galloping away in the background. The melodies and dare I say hooks that this band has written are at best out of this world and at worst extremely catchy. The first "section" is more or less your standard prog rock affair, with lots of time signature changes and harmonization. Lots of synth flourishes weave in and out, again the analog production style adds so much to this section and the others that follow.

Eventually the band takes a 180 and introduces a manic saxophone solo over a very radical groove. This part took me completely by surprise yet somehow felt fully natural. The guitar work during this section is certainly very much in the way of Steve Howe, Alex Lifeson or David Gilmour. Very tasteful rhythm section work as the sax and guitar trade leads during this very psychedelic section.

Some stop/start EGG-esque hits conclude the previous section and fade off with a vintage echo effect, leaving the listener wondering what's next to come. This album in fact leaves you guessing almost the entire time, very exciting stuff. Next comes a rather technical math rock style part which is thoroughly impressive. The fact that Perhaps recorded this album live in the studio is baffling to me, not only because some of the sections seem so difficult to perform but because the album also sounds so incredibly great. Warm and fresh tones throughout with a very 60's-70's vintage psychedelic vibe.

At the conclusion of the probably most technical part of Volume One, it drops into a sort of jazzy chilled out mode that has several changes. At the apex of this the band drops into one of the most menacing riffs I've ever heard and pulls out another left turn. A trumpet solo takes over and eventually starts to sound mutated and evil as this section moves on. Very skillful Bitches Brew style jamming yet some effects take over the trumpet and make it nearly unrecognizable as such (in a very cool way). By the time the groove really gets heavy the trumpet sounds like it is somewhere in outer space, being eaten by computer monsters. A middle eastern sounding guitar solo follows this and the drums pummel in a space-rock HAWKWIND style. All of a sudden the band switches gears on the turn of a dime and busts into a sort of CARAVAN boogie riff.

Some more synth washes and heavy distortion signal the end of this section and this is seemingly the climax, but PERHAPS has one more trick up their sleeve in my personal favorite part of Volume One. In a truly GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR inspired move, the band drops down to almost nothing and starts a melancholy, emotional progression. A string quartet slowly crescendos in with the band, and the results are beautiful. This section nearly brought tears to my eyes with its heart wrenching melodies. It continues to build and then cuts out leaving only the bass playing a simple riff, then all of a sudden kicks back in even 10 times more heavily than before. This is the true climax of the album and it is breath taking. The album concludes with some random chaotic noises and then drops to nothing.

I cannot recommend this album highly enough. I haven't been this enthralled with a piece of music in years. For any fan of progressive rock, you owe it to yourself to listen to Volume One by PERHAPS. I only wonder if they will be able to top this with their next record?

5 stars no question

suppermaybeready | 5/5 |


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