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VOLUME TWO

Perhaps

Post Rock/Math rock


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3 stars It's there! Almost a year after Volume One hit the top lists Perhaps are back with their second highly eclectic one-song album: Volume Two. I've been wondering for a long time what this album was going to sound like; more post-rock structures? More mathy jamming? More ambient parts? More psych influences? Well, it turns out it has all of that. Volume Two compresses the entire Volume One(with actual reprises) and more in just half an hour of music. Sounds great, but does it sound great?

The album starts off with over six minutes of ambient electronics. So that's just like V1, but with four minutes extra. Still, this is an intro that deserves to be longer for containing a lot of saxophone madness, the keyboard play of Cotton Casino('Super Cotton', keyboardist, vocalist and beer & cigarettist of the Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O.), who creates a tranquilizing pulse beat as well as waving synth lines later on, like those used at most of early AMT's music, and some rumbling bass notes near the end.

After that there's a long part of warm math rock, with many V1 reprises made softer by the changing some pitches and mixing down the drum line. There are still some freak out Cotton synths in the background cooperating to the psychedelic sound they are clearly trying to achieve.

Around 11:30 the math rock turns into full psych rock as the synths take the lead over sonic drum and bass play. Two minutes later the synths stop and turn into a smashing guitar solo which lasts for over six minutes, which is way too long.

Then it takes on an indie/post-rockish melody for a while, then falls back into the jazzy math rock from before the solos, and then it goes back to post-ish space rock. This might just be the best part of the album; it's well-organized, melodic and interesting. It goes in an emotional crescendo(post-rock) for circa six minutes and then ends in weird electronic sounds.

This is not the V2 I expected. Too many influences were trying to be compressed into the music, and the music itself doesn't seem to be too well-considered. The intro is slightly too long, the math rock takes too long, and the guitar solo definitely takes too long. Also, the mix of raging psych rock and complex math rock isn't done well, and it just sounds messy.

Still, the album is epic, unique(because highly eclectic) and at times melodic, which makes that this is still far from a bad record. Multiple listens just showed me that it lacks most balance, and it doesn't really improve over V1. Enjoy, but don't expect a masterpiece.

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Send comments to twseel (BETA) | Report this review (#1017349)
Posted Tuesday, August 13, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars Let's delve in, shall we? The track's opening, while rather hypnotizing, does over-stay its welcome a bit. At six-and-a-half minutes, it's something that you have to be in the mood for in order to fully enjoy or even tolerate. On subsequent listens of the track, the listener will want to skip the 6:24 mark where the body of the piece actually begins. The tune itself is an impressive collection of musical ideas, jumping all over the place from the airy first notes to over-the-top technical exercise-ness. While this in itself is not a bad thing, it does tend to seem slightly disjointed, as if Jim Haney put dozens of musical ideas back to back without a sense of overall cohesion. This doesn't leave much to grab on to as a listener, making the track feel very much like a jam that just so happens to have lots and lots of of syncopated unison parts. The musicianship it top notch, from the rock solid drumming from Don Taylor, Haney's awesome bass playing (he doesn't play lines, he just plays!), and Sean McDermott's fantastic guitar work which is highlighted in his five-plus minute solo. The piece is played incredibly tight, with no hesitation from any member. This is even more impressive due to the fact that all 29 minutes represent a single take! While the band does earn an incredible amount of audio street-cred for recording Volume 2 on analog tape, the music's fidelity is lacking. Apart from the bass guitar, the instruments have little definition. This is most audible in the drums which sit pretty far back in the mix, lost in the wash of cymbal crashes and hard hits on the hi hat. While I do understand the desire to keep something raw and pure in this age of over compression and the like, the tune does suffer from lack thereof. Overall, Volume 2 is an impressive body of work, as anything clocking in at 28:55 should be. However, it could be vastly improved by shaving off some minutes by tightening the arrangement. I'm excited to see where Perhaps goes, maybe and album with separate tracks? If the time between album one and two is anything to judge by, we'll know withing the next year. Rest assured, it's going to be a long but exciting one!

Well worth the listen.

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Send comments to CKnoxW (BETA) | Report this review (#1021782)
Posted Thursday, August 22, 2013 | Review Permalink
Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
4 stars Like their previous release, Volume One, Perhaps has created Volume Two as a single long track (although almost ten minutes shorter than the first). As a bass player, I appreciate that this group presents it's bottom out front (not in the same way as Miley Cyrus, in her recent awards show appearance).

The track is a blend of psychedelic improvisation and some tightly orchestrated avant-garde segments. The improvisation is splended, mostly led by some blazing guitar work. But it's in the orchestrated parts of the track where I am most impresses. Speedily plucked bass fits perfectly with the guitars in melodies and harmonies that most remind me of avant virtuosos Henry Kaiser and Mike Kenneally. They provide the setup for the improvs, as well as transitions between the differing segments of the piece.

As I stated in the rewiew of Volume One, Boston, despite the presence of the Berklee School, is not an easy place for such a challenging band to exist. I applaud these musicians for making such an effort in this town.

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Send comments to Evolver (BETA) | Report this review (#1024620)
Posted Tuesday, August 27, 2013 | Review Permalink
octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
4 stars This second single track album was expected to be a follow-up to the first. Well, it's still made of a single track, even if shorter, with totally different sections jointed by very well thought and performed transitions, but it's not exactly the same kind of things of the first.

The first 6 minutes lay between the studio side of Ummagumma and electronic drones in Kraut style. The various sections are less easy than on Volume One, with noisy elements and sometimes dissonances, with an exciting rhythmic part just in the middle of the track containing also a very good guitar solo, containing a bit of standard rock-blues very well driven by bass and drums.

More than a follow-up to volume one it appears to be more a complement to it, even in that sort of noisy psych rock between minutes 13 and 19 on which the guitar sounds like Jimmy Page or Hendrix at Woodstock. The bass is clean and high-volumed. It sometimes reminds to the System of a Down, but it's just for a bit, as a sort of waltz arrives quite suddenly to bring the guitar out of hell. Bass and drums work intensively throughout the track until a Floydian segment arrives at minute 23, then some tapes and electronic beeps close it.

A rating? I have given 4 stars to the about 40 minutes of Volume one, so I could give 3 stars to the less than 30 minutes of volume two, but I have really enjoyed it. Volume One was a surprise and this has contributed to its high rating, anyway Volume Two is as good and I imagine a CD reissued with both the tracks. Would it be a 5-stars release?

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Send comments to octopus-4 (BETA) | Report this review (#1025224)
Posted Thursday, August 29, 2013 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover Team
4 stars At long last we have the follow-up to 'Volume One', and although it is somewhat shorter than the last album we yet again have a single piece of music. Last time the guests joining the trio were strings and woodwind, but this time we have a couple of synth players, a guitarist and just the one sax, so the music has changed somewhat. However, yet again it is a compelling, almost beguiling and entrancing piece that drags the listener in. Although there are large sections where the band are bouncing ideas off each other, there are others which are highly complex and clearly orchestrated, and these pieces often don't appear to link together and the feeling is that it is often separate songs that have been put together as one, as opposed to a 'genuine' long piece of music.

But some of the interplay between Jim Haney (bass), Sean McDermott (guitar) and Don Taylor (drums) is nothing short of stunning. Just listen to what is happening at the eight minute mark, and I can guarantee that your mouth will drop open as you hear just how tight and complex these guys are. Jim sees no reason at all as to why his bass should just be in the background and can be a complementary lead in its' own right while Don obviously doesn't want to be left out while the other two have all the fun.

While containing elements of RIO, free jazz, krautrock, and loads of others, this is music that is often not as challenging as it may first appear and these guys have come up with yet another incredible piece of work, which yet again is yours for the paltry sum of whatever you want to pay. It's about time these guys got signed and released some CDs. www.perhaps.bandcamp.com

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Send comments to kev rowland (BETA) | Report this review (#1059154)
Posted Sunday, October 13, 2013 | Review Permalink
AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
3 stars Perhaps made a massive prog splash with their first volume and caused quite a stir in the prog community as they demanded to be noticed and nobody worth their salt in the progiverse could ignore them. They return with a release just under 30 minutes; so who could resist? It sounded like a fun way to spend an afternoon on a rainy day so here we go. Perhaps Volume Two takes off with a droning pulsating ebb in the first few minutes that builds ominously and reminds me of Krautrock such as Faust or even shades of Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Then a grungy guitar begins to howl and moan as though being tortured with an unsettling aura. A blood bolstering bassline pounds solidly and makes the heart quicken. Then the band really take off into full flight with sporadic jazz percussion, barking mad lead guitar and spasmodic bass; this is what we came to hear!

It slows and then decides to gain pace again at about 9 and a half minutes. Where to from here? This is challenging music so it could go anywhere and I hoped it would. After a messy irregular slice of dissonant rock it locks into a rock guitar vibe, and then switches time sigs for no reason other than to blow out the drummer. He struggles to keep up as the pace gets into death metal mode, then a screaming guitar solo bursts through. That's a guitar in pain right there! It squeals and glitches and cries out in agony and the rhythm is now channelling the space rock of Hawkwind. Indeed there is a spacey reverbed delay on the guitar, and the bass is pummelling.

The guitar gets more chaotic and blazes gloriously along the slowing down bass and drums. The drummer is having a field day on the cymbals and the bass is hypnotic speeding to a frenetic pace. At 17 minutes it sounds again like space rock; did Dave and Nik enter the room? The band sound like they are having way too much fun as this evolves into an improvised freakout of fret melting lead guitar and bass that Lemmy would be proud of.

Towards the end it sounds like the opening of ACDC's 'Thunderstruck'. Then we settle into a straight four on the floor rock time sig. not for long though as a demented waltz tempo strikes up. The lead guitar is an inferno tearing up the rhythm admirably. The bass mixed to the front is awe inspiring. The pace slows at about 22 minutes in and it is a calm tranquil atmosphere after the maelstrom previous.

I loved this track but it feels way too short and would benefit by being a section of the part one release. Part One was shattering music, that built into a frenzy of musical instruments competing for supremacy, and at times sounding like an explosion went off in a music shop. This part two track is not quite to that high standard but still pleases the ear with dissonant textures, polyphonic rhythms and fiery percussion with irregular beats. I think the band really set the bar high with their debut and this recent release does not have the flurry of musical instruments of the previous part and tends moreover to focus on the lead guitar. However again, Perhaps prove they are a band to be taken notice of. Look forward to more from these innovators.

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#1059232)
Posted Sunday, October 13, 2013 | Review Permalink
Neu!mann
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The sequel to one of the more celebrated debut efforts in recent years has attracted only a handful of reviews so far on this site. Either the novelty of the band's dynamic Math Rock has worn off (unlikely, after hearing this new EP), or their otherwise well-calibrated marketing machine needs a quick lube job.

Like its predecessor, "Volume Two" presents an episodic, uninterrupted slice of musical mayhem, played by a tightly-knit power trio led by ace guitarist Sean McDermott. The new EP, available as a name-your-own-price deal from the band's website, is about 25% shorter than the first chapter. But the drop in quantity in no way compromises the quality of the music, which is arguably even more focused than "Volume One", and with a harder edge of eclectic psychedelia.

The trio picks up more or less where they left off at the end of the previous set, but the new music is hardly a retread. Imagine it instead as a fraternal twin, separated at birth from its more popular sibling, and with a very different agenda. The gradual introduction (lasting almost a quarter of the full piece) sets an ominous, almost industrial mood, finally releasing its accumulated tension in a typically busy but surprisingly upbeat jam. Which in turn is only a further warm-up to a driving seven-minute solo by McDermott likely to annihilate any amateur air-guitarist, and from there moving to a robust Space Rock coda.

Even in its more frenzied moments it can sometimes sound like an academic exercise in algebraic rock. But with two strong recordings now in the can, the band has proven themselves to be more than just a fluke. So how about something more ambitious next time out: a full-fledged album for instance? And maybe it's time to reconsider the wishy-washy moniker. Perhaps? Try Certainly, instead.

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Send comments to Neu!mann (BETA) | Report this review (#1078461)
Posted Monday, November 18, 2013 | Review Permalink
memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Now the second, which is also great!

Volume Two continues with the exquisite salad of sounds, rhythms and musical styles provided by Perhaps, this great power trio from the USA whose talent is simply undeniable. This time, their second album is once again a one-song-album but now the length is 10 minutes less than the first one, so here you will have 28 minutes of a feast of good music, changes in time and mood and of course, that cool mixture of sounds and instruments.

Here the first minutes have an inherent tension, one does not really know what will happen next, the sound is nervous like some improvisation at first, later a repetitive bass sound and synthesizers put that tense mood. A diversity of sounds appear later after five minutes, electronic noises adding strange atmospheres while the guitar plays some disturbing noises, but well, this first tense stage finishes at minute 6 when the math rock style they offered in the Volume One returns, you can easily recognize that change into this new post- rockish passage, the strings and drums sound make it evident.

That craziness and energy they had is back here, so we can move our heads and feel the intensity they implement. After ten minutes the style changes and becomes spacey, like a space rock jam which at the same time sounds like krautrock; then we can hear a boomerang of rock with some cool guitar riffs included. What is different from the first albums is that in this one Perhaps included much more the synthesizers effects, they are here almost all the time putting nuances and textures in the music, changing a little bit the direction of their sound.

Before reaching the 20th minute, there is a notable change in the music, the guitar plays repetitive notes in a fast but softer way and a new passage begin, closer to rock and roll, and of course to post and math rock. After 22 minutes an atmospheric movement begins, much calmer, much slower, like a relaxing tea for a vertiginous day, and it goes on until the last two minutes in which the intensity increases and becomes more emotional. Later, the song/album finishes.

Perhaps is a surprisingly good band, a new act that has to be discovered by so many people whose musical tastes are not truly conventional, this band has a lot to offer, their talent is here, you just have to take some time to listen to them. By the way, their music is downloadable in their Bandcamp site, so go ahead. Though this second volume is also cool, it is behind its predecessor, their debut is simply stunning, while this one is simply good. Three stars.

Enjoy it!

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Send comments to memowakeman (BETA) | Report this review (#1105984)
Posted Friday, January 03, 2014 | Review Permalink

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